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It is a pleasure to acknowledge the debt that I owe to the friends whom 
I have consulted in the many and various difficulties which beset a trans- 
lator of such a long text as the Sira on which there is no commentary 
worthy of the name. My thanks are especially due to my old friend Pro- 
fessor A. A. Affifi of Alexandria, Professor A. Kh. Kinani of Damascus, 
Dr. Abdullah al-Tayib of Khartoum, Dr. M. A. Azzam of Cairo, and 
Professor A. K. S. Lambton of London. Particularly I would thank Dr. 
W. Arafat for his self-sacrificing labour in reading the whole of my transla- 
tion in manuscript, and for bringing its shortcomings to my notice. If, 
with reference to this book of mine, I am ever able to solace myself with 
the words kafa'l-mar'a fadlan an tu'adda mddyibuh, it will be in great 
measure due to his ready help and eagle eye. 

Last, but not least, I gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the School 
of Oriental and African Studies in meeting the cost of production. Without 
this help it would have been impossible to publish the book. I hope that 
in the years to come it will stand as a modest tribute to the School's great 
interest in Oriental studies and also help to further co-operation and 
friendliness between my country and the Islamic world. 



The Author 

The Slra xiv 

The Editor Ibn Hisham xj» 

A Fragment of the Lost Book of Musa b. 'Uqba xliii 

Part I 


Genealogy 3 

The soothsayers 9hiqq and Satlh 4 

Abu Karib's expedition to Yathrib 6 

His sons Hassan and 'Amr " 

Lakhnl'a Dhu Shanatir J 3 

Dhu Nuwas *4 

Christianity in Najran x 4 

'Abdullah b. al-Thamir and the Christian martyrs 1 6 

Abyssinian domination of the Yaman »8 

Abraha's abortive attack on Mecca 21 

Persian domination of the Yaman 3° 

The descendants of Nizar b. Ma'add 34 

Origin of idolatry among the Arabs 35 

Arab taboos 4© 

The descendants of Mudar 4© 
The digging of Zamzam 45 « 62 

Kinana and Khuza'a expel Jurhum and occupy the Ka'ba 46 

The Jtajj in the Jahiliya 49 

Quraysh predominate in Mecca 5 2 

Internal dissensions 5° 

The wells of Mecca *>5 

'Abdu'l-Muttalib vows to sacrifice his son 66 

'Abdullah father of the prophet 68 

Amina mother of the prophet 69 

His birth and fostermother 69 

His mother's death 73 

Death of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib and elegies thereon 73 

Abu Tahb becomes Muhammad's guardian 79 

The monk Bahira 79 

viii Contents 

The sacrilegious war g 2 

Muhammad marries Khadlja g 2 

Rebuilding of the Ka'ba g 4 

The Hums g 7 

Jews, Christians, and Arabs predict Muhammad's mission 90 

Salman the Persian 95 

Early monotheists g 

The Gospel prophecy of the sending of 'the Comforter' 103 

Part II 


His call and the beginning of the Quran 
Khadlja accepts Islam 
Prayer prescribed 

'All the first male Muslim, then Abu Bakr and his converts 
Muhammad preaches and Quraysh reject him 

Abu Talib protects him from Quraysh ,,g 
Persecution of Muhammad 
Hamza accepts Islam 
'Utba attempts a compromise 

Conference with Quraysh leaders. The chapter of The Cave 
'Abdullah b. Mas'ud recites the Quran publicly ^ 
Meccans persecute Muhammad's followers I43 
The first emigrants to Abyssinia , 4 6 
Quraysh try to get them sent back 
How the Negus gained his throne 
'Umar accepts Islam 
The document proclaiming a boycott 
Active opposition to Muhammad 

His temporary concession to polytheism ,5,. 
The return of the first emigrants ,6 7 
'Uthman b. Maz'un and Abu Bakr renounce their protectors 169 
Annulling of the boycott 172 
Tufayl b. 'Amr accepts Islam ^ 
Abu Jahl's dishonesty l77 
Rukana wrestles with Muhammad , 7 g 
Some Christians accept Islam I7 ^ 
Suras 108 and 6 x g Q 
The night journey and the ascent to heaven x $ l 
Allah punishes the mockers x g 7 
The story of Abu Uzayhir l8? 
Death of Abu Talib and Khadlja I0I 
Muhammad preaches in al-Ta if jg2 


II 7 





Contents ix 

Muhammad preaches to the Beduin 194 

Iyas accepts Islam 107 

Beginning of Islam among the Helpers 197 

The first pledge at al- 4 Aqaba , 98 

Institution of Friday prayers in Medina 199 

The second pledge at al-'Aqaba 201 

Names of the twelve leaders 204 

'Amr's idol 207 

Conditions of the pledge and names of those present 208 

Allah orders Muhammad to fight 212 

The Emigrants to Medina 213 

Those with whom they lodged 218 

Part III 



Muhammad's hijra 221 

He builds a mosque and houses in Medina 228 

Covenant with the Jews and men of Medina 231 

Brotherhood between the Emigrants and the Helpers 234 

The Call to Prayer 23 5 

Abu Qays 236 

Jewish opponents 239 

'Abdullah b. Salam accepts Islam 240 

Jews joined by hypocrites among the Helpers 242 

Disaffected rabbis 246 

The chapter of The Cow and Jewish opposition 247 

Deputation from the Christians of Najran 270 

The disaffected 277 

Fever in Medina 279 

Date of the hijra 281 

The first raid: on Waddan 281 

Hamza's raid to the coast 283 

Raid on Buwat 285 

Raid on al-'Ushayra 285 

Raid on al-Kharrar 286 

Raid on Safawan 286 

Fighting in the sacred month 286 

The change of the Qibla - s., 

Battle of Badr 289 

Zaynab sets out for Medina 314 

Abu'l-'As accepts Islam 316 

'Umayr b. Wahb accepts Islam 3I 8 

The chapter of The Spoils 32 1 

Names of the Emigrants who fought at Badr 

Names of the Helpers who fought at Badr 

Names of the Quraysh prisoners 

Verses on the battle 

Raid on B. Sulaym 

Raid called al-Sawiq 

Raid on Dhu Amarr 

Raid on al-Furu' 

Attack on B. Qaynuqa' 

Raid on al-Qarada 

Killing of Ka'b b. al-Ashraf 

Muhayyisa and Huwayyisa 

Battle of Uhud 

The Quran on Uhud 

Names of the Muslims slain at Uhud 

Names of the polytheists slain at Uhud 

Verses on Uhud 

The day of al-Rajl' 

Poems thereon 

Treachery at Bi'r Ma'una 

B. al-Nadlr exiled 

Poetry thereon 

Raid of Dhatu'l-Riqa 

Last expedition to Badr 

Raid on Dumatu'l-Jandal 

Battle of the Ditch 

Attack on B. Qurayza 

Poetry thereon 

Killing of Sallam 

'Amr b. al-'As and Khalid b. al-Walid accept Islam 

Attack on B. Lihyan 

Attack on Dhu Qarad 

Attack on B. al-Mus?aliq 

Scandal about 'A'isha 

The affair of al-Hudaybiya 

The willing homage 

The armistice 

Those left helpless 

Women who migrated after the armistice 

Expedition to Khaybar 

al-Aswad the shepherd 

Division of the spoils of Khaybar 

Affair of Fadak 

Names of the Dariyun 

Return of the second batch of emigrants 

The fulfilled pilgrimage 53© 

RaidonMu'ta & 1 

The occupation of Mecca 54© 

Khalid followed by 'All go forth as missionaries 5*1 

Khalid destroys al-'Uzza 5©S 

Battle of Hunayn 56 

Verses thereon 572 

Capture of al-Ta if 587 

Division of the spoils of Hawazin 592 

Ka'b b. Zuhayr 597 

His ode 598 

Raid on Tabuk 602 

The opposition mosque °°9 

Those who hung back from the raid on Tabuk 610 

Destruction of al-Lat 615 

Abu Bakr leads the pilgrimage 6l 7 

Hassan's odes on the campaigns 6z 4 

The Year of the Deputations 627 

The B. Tamim 628 

'Amir b. al-Tufayl and Arbad b. Qays 631 

Deputation from B. Sa'd 634 

Deputation from 'Abdu'l-Qays 6 35 

Deputation from B. Hanifa 636 

Deputation from Tayyi' 6 3 7 

Adiy b. Hatim 6 37 

Deputation of Farwa 639 

Deputation from B. Zubayd 64° 

Deputation from Kinda 641 

Deputation from al-Azd 642 

Deputation from Himyar 642 

Farwa b. 'Amr accepts Islam 644 

B. Harith accept Islam 645 

The false prophets Musaylima and al-Aswad 648 

The farewell pilgrimage 6 49 

Usama's expedition to Palestine 652 

Muhammad's missions to foreign rulers 652 

A summary of Muhammad's raids and expeditions 659 

Ghalib's raid on B. al-Mulawwal? 660 

Zayd's raid on Judham 662 

Zayd's raid on B. Fazara 664 

'Abdullah b. Rawalia's raid to kill al-Yusayr 665 

'Abdullah b. Unays's raid to kill Khalid b. Sufyan 666 

'Uyayna's raid on B. al-'Anbar 667 

Ghalib's raid on B. Murra 667 

'Amr b. al-'As's raid on Dhatu'l-Salasil 668 

xii Contents 

Ibn Abu Hadrad's raid on Idam 669 

His raid on al-Ghaba 671 

'Abdu'l-Rahman's raid on Dumatu'l-Jandal 672 

AbQ 'Ubayda's raid to the coast 673 

Salim b. 'Umayr's raid to kill Abu 'Afak 675 

'Umayr b. 'Adly's raid to kill 'Asma' 675 

Capture of Thumama b. Athal 676 

'Alqama's raid 677 

Kurz's raid on the Bajills 677 

'Ali's raid on the Yaman 678 

Beginning of Muhammad's illness 678 

His death 682 

The meeting in the hall of B. Sa'ida 683 

Preparations for burial 687 

Hassan's panegyric 689 




Proper Names 801 

Isnad 810 

Books cited 814 

Subjects 815 



Muhammad, son of Ishaq, son of Yasar, was born in Medina about 
a.h. 85 and died in Baghdad in 151. 1 His grandfather YasSr fell into the 
hands of K ha lid b. al-Walld when he captured 'Aynu'l-Tamr in a.h. 12, 
having been held there as a prisoner by the Persian king. Khalid sent him 
with a number of prisoners to Abu Bakr at Medina. There he was handed 
over to Qays b. Makhrama b. al-Mutjalib b. 'Abdu Manaf as a slave, and 
was manumitted when he accepted Islam. His family adopted the family 
name of their patrons. His son Ishaq was born about the year 50, his 
mother being the daughter of another freedman. He and his brother 
Musa were well-known traditionists, so that our author's path in life was 
prepared before he reached manhood. 1 

He associated with the second generation of traditionists, notably 
al-Zuhri, 'Asim b. 'Umar b. QatSda, and 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr. He must 
have devoted himself to the study of apostolic tradition from his youth, for 
at the age of thirty he went to Egypt to attend the lectures of Yazid b. 
Abu Habib. 3 There he was regarded as an authority, for this same Yazid 
afterwards related traditions on Ibn Ishaq's authority. 4 On his return to 
Medina he went on with the collection and arrangement of the material 
he had collected. Al-Zuhri, who was in Medina in 123, is reported to have 
said that Medina would never lack 'Urn as long as Ibn Ishaq was there, and 
he eagerly gathered from him the details of the prophet's wars. Unfortu- 
nately Ibn Ishaq excited the enmity of Malik b. Anas, for whose work he 
showed his contempt, and it was not long before his own writings and his 
orthodoxy were called in question. Probably it was our author's lost book 
of Sunan 5 which excited Malik's ire, for it would have been in the field 
of law based on the practice of the prophet that differences would be most 
keenly felt. He was accused of being a Qadari and a Shi'i. Another man 
attacked his veracity: he often quoted F5tima, the wife of Hisham b. 
*Urwa, as the authority for some of his traditions. The husband was 
annoyed and denied that he had ever met his wife ; but as she was nearly 
forty years Ibn Ishaq's senior it is easily credible that they often met 
without occasioning gossip. It is not known whether Ibn Ishaq was com- 
pelled to leave Medina or whether he went away voluntarily. Obviously 
he could not have the same standing in a place that housed his chief 

1 I.S. vii. U. p. 67. 

2 On Musi and Ishaq see J. FQck, Muhammad ibn Ishaq, Frankfurt a. M. 1925, p. a8. 

3 See Biographien von Gexcahrtmamurn des Ibn hhaq . . ., ed. Fischer, Leiden, 1890. 
With all those whose death-ratea ranged from a.h. 27 to 152 he was in contact personally 
or at second hand. 

* Wustenfeid, II. vii, from I. al-Najjir and FQck, 30. » Hajji Khalifa, ii. 1008. 

xiv The Life of Muhammad 

informants as he would hold elsewhere, and so he left for the east, stopping 
in Kiifa, al-jazlra on the Tigris, and Ray, finally settling in Baghdad. While 
Mansur was at Hashimiya he attached himself to his following and presented 
him with a copy of his work doubtless in the hope of a grant from the caliph. 
Thence he moved to Ray and then to the new capital of the empire. He 
died in 150 (or perhaps 151) and was buried in the cemetery of Hayzuran. 


Its precursors 

It is certain that Ibn Ishaq's biography of the prophet had no serious 
rival ; but it was preceded by several maghdzi books. We do not know when 
they were first written, though we have the names of several first-century 
worthies who had written notes and passed on their knowledge to the rising 
generation. The first of these was Aban the son of the caliph 'Uthman. 
He was born in c. 20 and took part in the campaign of Talha and Zubayr 
against his father's slayers. He died about 100. The language used by 
al-Waqidi in reference to Ibn al-Mughlra, 'he had nothing written down 
about hadith except the prophet's maghdzis which he had acquired from 
Aban', certainly implies, though it does not demand, that Ibn al-Mughira 
wrote down what Aban told him. It is strange that neither Ibn Ishaq nor 
al-Waqidi should have cited this man who must have had inside knowledge 
of many matters that were not known to the public; possibly as a follower 
of Ali he preferred to ignore the son of the man the Alids regarded as a 
usurper. However, his name often appears in the isndds of the canonical 
collections of hadith. (The man named in Tzb. 2340 and I.S. iv 29 is 
Aban b. 'Uthman al-Bajali who seems to have written a book on maghdzi. ) 

A man of much greater importance was 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr b. al- 
•Awwam (2 3 -o 4 )> a cousin of the prophet. 'Urwa's mother was Abu 
Bakr's daughter Asmfi'. He and his brother 'Abdullah were in close con- 
tact with the prophet's widow 'A'isha. He was a recognized authority on 
the early history of Islam, and the Umayyad caliph 'Abdu 1-Mahk applied 
to him when he needed information on that subject. Again, it is uncertain 
whether he wrote a book, but the many traditions that are handed down in 
his name by I.I. and other writers justify the assertion that he was the 
founder of Islamic history.* Though he is the earliest writer whose notes 
have come down to us, I have not translated.the passages from Jab. which 
reproduce them because they do not seem to add anything of imrx)rtance 
to the Sira. They form part of a letter which 'Urwa wrote to Abdu 
1-Malik who wanted to have accurate knowledge about the prophet s 
career/ Much of his material rests on the statements of his aunt A isha. 

J Ltt n. £ t"i f Horovi. in J** Culture, 538. 
3 I.S., Tab., and Bu. are heavily indebted to him. 

« See T. i- ntoi iaa* 1234, »8 4 , 1634. 1654. 1670. 1770; ui. 2458. Cf. l.M. 754- 



Like I.I. he was given to inserting poetry in his traditions and justified the 
habit by the example of 'A'isha who uttered verses on every subject that 
presented itself. 1 He was a friend of the erotic poet 'Umar b. Rabl'a, but 
thought very little of the prophet's poet Hassan b. Thabit. 2 

Of Shurahbil b. Sa'd, a freedman, presumably of South Arabian origin, 
little is known beyond the fact that he wrote a maghdzi book. I.I. would 
have none of him, and he is seldom quoted by other writers. He died in 
123, and as he is said to have known Ali he must have died a centenarian. 
He reported traditions from some of the prophet's companions, and 
Musa b. 'Uqba 3 records that he wrote lists of the names of the emigrants 
and the combatants at Badr and Uhud. In his old age he was discredited 
because he blackmailed his visitors: if they did not give him anything he 
would say that their fathers were not present at Badr! Poverty and extreme 
age made him cantankerous. The victims of his spleen doubted his veracity, 
though those best qualified to judge regarded him as an authority. 

Another important Tabi' was Wahb b. Munabbih (34-110), a Yamanite 
of Persian origin. His father probably was a Jew. He is notorious for his 
interest in, and knowledge of, Jewish and Christian scriptures and tradi- 
tions; and though much that was invented later was fathered on him, his 
K. al-Mubtada lies behind the Muslim version of the lives of the prophets 
and other biblical stories. With his books on the legendary history of the 
Yaman, on aphorisms, on free will, and other matters preserved in part in 
I.H.'s K. al-Tijdn we are not concerned; but the statement of Hajji 
Khalifa that he collected the maghdzi is now confirmed by the discovery of a 
fragment of the lost work on papyri written in 228. Unfortunately this 
fragment tells us little that is new; nevertheless, its importance is great 
because it proves that at the end of the first century, or some years before 
a.h. 100, the main facts about the prophet's life were written down much 
as we have them in the later works. Further it shows that, like the other 
early traditionists, he had little or no use for isndds. Miss Gertrud Melamede 4 
has compared the account of the meeting at 'Aqaba (cf. i. H. 288, 293, 299) 
with the literature on the subject and her criticism, literary and historical, 
leads her to some important conclusions which do not concern us here. An 
interesting detail is that Muhammad speaking to 'Abbas calls Aus and 
Khazraj 'my and your maternal uncles'. 'Abbas throughout runs with the 
hare and hunts with the hounds. 

A little later comes 'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada al-Ansarl (d. c. 120). He 
lectured in Damascus on the campaigns of the prophet and the exploits 
of his companions and seems to have committed his lectures to writing. 
He too is quite inconsistent in naming his authorities : sometimes he gives 
an isndd, more often he does not. He returned to Medina to continue his 
work, and I.I. attended his lectures there. Occasionally he inserted verses 
in his narrative, and sometimes gave his own opinion. 

1 Fischer, Asanld, 46. 

» I. tfajar, Tahdhib, x. 361 

2 Horovitz, op. cit. 251. 

4 Le Monde Orientate, xxviii. 1934, 17-58. 

xvi The Life of Muhammad 

Muhammad b. Muslim . . . b. Shihab al-Zuhrl (51-124) was a member of 
a distinguished Meccan family. He attached himself to 'Abdu'l-Malik, 
Hisham, and Yazid, and wrote down some traditions for his princely 
pupils. He was the forerunner of the later traditionists in that he took 
extraordinary pains to interrogate people, young and old of both sexes, who 
might possess knowledge of the past. He left a history of his own family 
and a book of maghdzi. Most of his traditional lore survived in the notes 
of his lectures that his pupils wrote down quoting his authority for the 
traditions they record. He spent some years in Medina as a young man. 
LI. met him when he came south on pilgrimage and he is often named as an 
authority in the Sira. He was the most important traditionist of his 
generation, and his influence is to be seen in all collections of canonical 
hadith. (See further J. Hojovitz, Islamic Culture, ii. 33 ff.) 

'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amrb. Hazm (d. 130 or 135) 
was one of I.I.'s most important informants. His father had been ordered 
by 'Umar b. 'Abdu'l-'AzTz to write a collection of prophetic hadith, 
especially what 'Amra d. 'Abdu'l- Rahman said. This latter was a friend 
of 'A'isha and she was the aunt of this Abu Bakr. Already in the time of his 
son 'Abdullah these writings had been lost. Though we have no record of 
a book by 'Abdullah, its substance probably once existed in the maghdzi of 
his nephew 'Abdu'l-Malik. As one would expect, the isndd is a matter of 
indifference to 'Abdullah: he stood too near the events among many who 
knew of them to need to cite his authorities. Tab. (i. 1837) contains an 
interesting note on how I.I. got his information. 'Abdullah told his wife 
Fatima to tell him what he knew on 'Amra's authority. 

Abu'l-Aswad Muhammad b. 'Abdu'I-Rahman b. Naufal (d. 131 or 
137) left a maghdzi book which sticks closely to 'Urwa's tradition. 1 

Contemporary" with our author in the third generation was Musa b. 
'Uqba (c. 55-141), a freedman of the family of al-Zubayr. A fragment of 
his work has survived and was published by Sachau in 1904. 2 As it once 
rivalled I.I.'s work and is one of our earliest witnesses to the Sira I have 
given a translation of the extant traditions. 3 Although Malik b. Anas, 
al-Shafi'I, and Ahmad b. Hanbal — an impressive trio — asserted that his 
book was the most important and trustworthy of all, posterity evidently 
did not share their opinion or more of his work would have survived. 4 
I.I. never mentions him. One cannot escape the conviction that petty 
professional jealousy was as rife in those days as how, and that scholars 
deliberately refrained from giving their predecessors credit for their 
achievements. Musa leaned heavily on al-Zuhrl. He seems to have carried 
farther the process of idealizing the prophet. 5 He is freely quoted by 
al-Waqidi, I. Sa'd, al-Baladhuri, Tabari, and I. Sayyidu'l-Nas. He gave 

' See Fuck, 11. » S.B.B.A. xi. 

3 v.i. where some doubts about the authenticity of some of them are raised. 

4 Goldziher, M.S. ii. 207, shows that it was in circulation as late as the end of the 9th 
century A.H. * Fuck, 12. 

Introduction xvii 

lists of those who went to Abyssinia and fought at Badr. The latter 
Malik regarded as authoritative. He generally gives an isndd, though it is 
not always clear whether he is relying on a written or an oral source. Once 
at least he refers to a mass of records left by Ibn 'Abbas (I.S. v. 216). 
Occasionally he quotes poems. 

Apart from the fragment of Wahb b. Munabbih's maghazi the Berlin 
MS., if it is authentic, is the oldest piece of historical literature in Arabic in 
existence, and if only for that reason deserves more than a passing notice 
here. It is of importance also because it carries back some of the traditions 
in Bukhari (d. 256) more than a century. 

Other maghazi works were produced in Iraq, Syria, and the Yaman 
during the second century, but none of them is likely to have influenced 
I.I. and they can safely be disregarded. 1 What is of significance is the 
great interest in the life of the prophet that was shown everywhere during 
this century. But no book known to the Arabs or to us can compare in 
comprehensiveness, arrangement, or systematic treatment, with I.I.'s work 
which will now be discussed. 

The Sira 

The titles The Book of Campaigns or The Book of Campaigns and {the 
prophet's) Biography or The Book of the Biography and the Beginning and the 
Campaigns 2 are all to be met with in the citations of Arabic authors. 
Al-Bakka'I, a pupil of 1. 1., made two copies of the whole book, one of which 
must have reached I.H. (d. 218) whose text, abbreviated, annotated, and 
sometimes altered, is the main source of our knowledge of the original 
work. A good deal more of it can be recovered from other sources. 3 The 
principles underlying I.H.'s revision are set out in his Introduction. 
Sachau< suggests that the copy used by T. was made when I.I. was in Rav 

V« « • C-» I »-*-v L. I'M _ 1 A 1 t 1 . _ _ . J 

copy of part ^ 

recension exists m the Qarawiyln mosque at Fez. The text, which contains 
some important additions to the received text, I hope to publish shortlv. 
A fourth copy was that of the Syrian Hariin b. Abu'Isa. These last two 
copies were used by I. SaU* Lastly the Fihrist mentions the edition of 
al-Nufayh (d. 234). 

It must not be supposed that the book ever existed in three separate 
parts: ancient legends, Muhammad's earlv life and mission, and his wars. 
These are simply sections of the book which contained I.I.'s lectures. 

For the Mubtada' (Mabda>) we must go to T's Tafsir and History. The 

L i 7 x \ ? the iatter6 mns thus: ,j - t iamid said . 

b. al-Fadl told us that I.I. sa ,d : "The first thing that God created was light 

\ t F f k ' I2< 2 See Noldeke, Gesch. Qor. ,29. 221. 

»'feJLjMh»***» *p S 9 '" XXV ' 

B 4080 U 

xviii The Life of Muhammad 

and darkness. Then He separated them and made the darkness night, 
black exceeding dark; and He made the light day, bright and luminous." ' 
From this it is clear that 'Genesis' is the meaning of the title of the first 
section of the book. I.H. skipped all the intervening pages and began with 
Abraham, the presumed ancestor of Muhammad. Al-AzraqI quotes some 
passages from the missing section in his Akhbdr Mecca and a few extracts 
are given by al-Mutahhar b. Tahir. 1 

The Mubtada' in so far as it lies outside I.H.'s recension is not our 
concern, though it is to be hoped that one day a scholar will collect and 
publish a text of it from the sources that survive so that I.I.'s work can be 
read in its entirety as its importance warrants. In this section I.I. relied on 
Jewish and Christian informants and on the book of Abu 'Abdullah Wahb 
b. Munabbih (34-110 or 114) known as K. al-Mubtada 1 and also al-Isra- 
iliydt of which the original title was Qisafu'l-Anbiya. To him he owed 
the history of the past from Adam to Jesus 2 and also the South Arabian 
legends, some of which I.H. has retained. This man also wrote a maghdzi 
book, and a fragment of it has survived. 3 I.I. cites him by name only once. 4 
It is natural that a book about Muhammad, 'the seal of the prophets', 
should give an account of the history of the early prophets, but the 
history, or legends, of South Arabia demand another explanation. As 
Goldziher showed long ago, 5 it was in the second half of the first century 
that the antagonism of north and south, i.e. Quraysh and the Ansar of 
Medina, first showed itself in literature. The Ansar, proud of their southern 
origin and of their support of the prophet when the Quraysh rejected him, 
smarted under the injustice of their rulers and the northerner's claim to 
superiority. One of the ways in which their resentment manifested itself 
was in the glorification of Himyar's great past. I.I. as a loyal son of 
Medina shared the feelings of his patrons and recounted the achievements 
of their forefathers, and I.H., himself of southern descent, retained in the 
Sira as much of the original work as he thought desirable. To this accident 
that I.H. was a Himyari we owe the extracts from stories of the old South 
Arabian kings. I.H. devoted a separate book to the subject, the K. al- 
Tijdn li-marifati muluki l-zamdn (fi akhbdri Qahtan)*' 

The second section of the book which is often called al-Mab'ath begins 
with the birth of the prophet and ends when the first fighting from his base 
in Medina takes place. The impression one gets from this section is of 
hazy memories; the stories have lost their freshness and have nothing of 
that vivid and sometimes dramatic detail which make the maghdzi stories— 
especially in al-Waqidi— so full of interest and excitement. Thus while the 
Mcdinan period is well documented, and events there are chronologi- 
cally a-ranged, no such accuracy, indeed no such attempt at it, can be 

' ed. and tr. CI. Huart, Publ. de Vlcole des lang. or. viv., s. iv, vol. xvi, i-vi, Paris, 1899- 

2 A summary of the contents is given in | . 1. 

3 See E.J. I P- 2 °; . , 

* M.S. i. 89-98. Haydarabad, i 3 4*- 

Introduction xix 

claimed for the Meccan period. We do not know Muhammad's age when 
he first came forth publicly as a religious reformer : some say he was forty, 
others say forty-five; we do not know his precise relation to the Banu 
Najjar; the poverty of his childhood ill fits the assertion that he belonged 
to the principal family in Mecca. The story of those years is filled out with 
legends and stories of miraculous events which inevitably undermine the 
modern reader's confidence in the history of this period as a whole. In 
this section particularly, though not exclusively, I.I. writes historical 
introductions to his paragraphs. A good example is his foreword to the 
account of the persecution the prophet endured at the hands of the 
Meccans: 'When the Quraysh became distressed by the trouble caused by 
the enmity between them and the apostle and those of their people who 
accepted his teaching, they stirred up against him foolish fellows who called 
him a liar, insulted him, and accused him of being a poet, a sorcerer, a 
diviner, and of being possessed. However the apostle continued to pro- 
claim what God had ordered him to proclaim, concealing nothing, and 
exciting their dislike by contemning their religion, forsaking their idols, 
and leaving them to their unbelief'. 1 This is not a statement resting on 
tradition, but a concise summary of the circumstances that are plainly 
indicated by certain passages of the Quran which deal with this period. 

Of the Maghdzi history little need be said. For the most part the stories 
rest on the account of eyewitnesses and have every right to be regarded as 


The opinions of Muslim critics on I.I.'s trustworthiness deserve a special 
paragraph ; but here something may be said of the author's caution and his 
fairness. A word that very frequently precedes a statement is za'ama or 
za'amtl, 'he (they) alleged'. It carries with it more than a hint that the 
statement may not be true, though on the other hand it may be sound. 
Thus there are fourteen or more occurrences of the caveat from p. 87 to 
148 alone, besides a frequent note that only God knows whether a parti- 
cular statement is true or not. Another indication of reserve if not scepti- 
cism underlies the expression fi ma dhukira It, as in the story of the jinn 
who listened to Muhammad as he prayed; Muhammad's order to 'Umar 
to kill Suwayd ; one of Gabriel's visits to Muhammad ; the reward of two 
martyrs to the man killed by a woman. 2 An expression of similar import is 
ft ma balaghani? 

Very seldom does IX make any comment of his own on the traditions 
he records apart from the mental reservation implied in these terms. 
Therefore when he does express an opinion it is the more significant. 
In his account of the night journey to Jerusalem and the ascent into heaven 

1 p. 183; see also 187, 230 et passim. 2 pp. 281, 356. 357. 3©8. 

3 pp. 232, 235 et passim. Extreme caution introduces the legends of the light at the 
prophet's birth, 102. 

xx The Life of Muhammad 

he allows us to see the working of his mind. The story is everywhere 
hedged with reservations and terms suggesting caution to the reader. He 
begins with a tale which he says has reached him [balaghani) from several 
narrators and he has pieced them together from the stories these people 
heard (dhukira). The whole subject is a searching test of men's faith in 
which those endowed with intelligence are specially concerned. It was 
certainly an act of God, but exactly what happened we do not know. This 
opinion of his is most delicately and skilfully expressed in the words 
kayfa shaa, 'how God wished to show him'. I. Mas'ud's words are 
prefaced by ft ma balaghani 'anhu. There is nothing in the story to indicate 
that it is a vision. Al-Hasan's version is much more definite, for he asserts 
that when Muhammad returned to Mecca he told the Quraysh that he had 
been to Jerusalem and back during the night and that this so strained the 
credulity of some of the Muslims that they gave up their faith in his revela- 
tions although he was able to give an accurate description of Jerusalem. 
It is therefore most surprising that al-Hasan should end his story by 
quoting Sura 13. 62 'We made the vision which we showed thee only for a 
test to men' in this context. The whole point of al-Hasan's story is thereby 
undermined, for if the experience was visionary, then there was nothing 
at all incredible about it. Then follows 'A'isha's statement, reported by 
one of her father's family, that it was only the apostle's spirit that was 
transported; his body remained where it was in Mecca. Another tradi- 
tion by Mu'awiya b. Abu Sufyan bears the same meaning. The fact that he 
had been asked whether it was a physical or a dream journey shows that the 
subject was debated before I.I.'s day. Here I.I. makes a profound observa- 
tion which in effect means that it was immaterial whether the experience 
was real or visionary because it came from God ; and just as Abraham made 
every preparation to slay his son Isaac in consequence of what he had seen 
in a dream 1 because he recognized no difference between a divine command 
given at night during sleep and an order given by day when he was awake, 
so the apostle's vision was just as real as if it had been an actual physical 
experience. Only God knows what happened, but the apostle did see what 
he said he saw and whether he was awake or asleep the result is the same. 

The description of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus which purports to quote 
Muhammad's words is prefaced by za'ama'l-Zuhri, not, as often, by the 
ordinary term haddathani. Now as al-Zuhri and I.I. knew each other 
well and must have met quite often, we must undoubtedly infer from the 
fact that I.I. deliberately substituted the verb of suspicion for the ordinary 
term used in traditional matters that he means us to take this tradition with 
a grain of salt. 

It is a pity that the excellent impression that one gets of the author's 
intelligence and religious perception should be marred by the concluding 
paragraph 2 on this subject of the ascent into heaven which incidentally 
has had far-reaching results on European literature through the Divine 

1 manam. a p. 267. 


Comedy. 1 It rules out absolutely any but a physical experience and ought 
to have been recorded with its cautionary note before I.I. made his own 
observations. Possibly the reason for its being out of place is that it is an 
excerpt from his lecture notes ; but whatever the explanation, it mars the 
effect of his statement of the evidence. 2 

The phrase 'God knows best' speaks for itself and needs no comment. 
It is sometimes used when the author records two conflicting traditions 
and is unable to say which is correct. Another indication of the author's 
scrupulousness is the phrase 'God preserve me from attributing to the 
apostle words which he did not use'. His report of Muhammad's first public 
address at Medina and his order to each of his companions to adopt another 
as a brother are prefixed by these words and hedged by ft ma balaghani. 3 

The author does not often give us rival versions of traditions from 
Medina and Mecca ; thus the account of 'Umar's conversion is interesting. 4 
It illustrates the thoroughness of our author in his search for information 
about the early days of the prophet's ministry. The first account he says is 
based on what the traditionists of Medina said: 'Umar was brutal to his 
sister and brother-in-law who had accepted Islam, but feeling some 
remorse when he saw blood on her face from the violent blow he had dealt 
her, and impressed by her constancy, he demanded the leaf of the Quran 
thairshe was reading. Having read it he at once accepted it as inspired and 
went to the prophet to proclaim his allegiance. 

The Meccan, 'Abdullah b. Abu Najlh, on the authority of two named 
companions or an anonymous narrator, gives another version in 'Umar's 
own words to the effect that his conversion was due to his hearing the 
prophet recite the Quran while praying at the Ka'ba one night. In both 
narratives it was the Quran which caused his conversion. In the first 
version 'Umar was affected by the bearing of his sister and secured a part of 
the Quran to read himself; in the second he was affected by the private 
devotions of the prophet. The first story is prefixed by fx ma balaghani, but 
this is cancelled as it were by the express statement that it was the current 
belief of the people of Medina. I.I. concludes by saying that only God 
knows what really happened. 

A rather difficult problem in literary and historical criticism is posed by 
the rival traditions 5 collected by the indefatigable T. from two of I.I.'s 
pupils, Yunus b. Bukayr and Salama b. al-Fadl, the latter supported by 
another pupil of I.I.'s named Ali b. Mujahid. The first had attended his 
lectures in Kufa ; the other two his lectures at Ray. All three claim that 
they transmit what I.I. told them on the authority of a certain 'Afif. I do 
not know of a parallel in I.I.'s work to a contradiction resting on the authority 
of the same original narrator. Different traditions from different rdwis 
from different sources are to be expected in any history; but here the same 

1 See M. Asin, La escatalogia musulmana. 

2 Can it be that I.H. has tampered with the text here? 

1 PP- 34° »nd 344. 4 pp. 224-9. 5 T- »■ "62. 8-1 163. 2. 

xxii The Life of Muhammad 

man is introduced as the authority for conflicting traditions such as are to 
be found in the later collections of hadith. 

The first tradition is suspect because it requires us to believe that from 
the earliest days of his ministry before he had any following apart from a 
wife and a young nephew Muhammad prophesied the Arab conquest of the 
Byzantine and Persian empires in the Near East. Nothing in his life gives 
the slightest support to this claim, though it was to be made good soon after 
his death. 

The second contains no reference to later conquests and may be trust- 
worthy. It definitely fixes the scene at Mina, which is about three miles 
distant from Mecca. The first account suggests, though it does not assert, 
that the prophet was in Mecca, as he turned to face the Ka'ba when he 
prayed. Would he have done this had he been in Mina? Would he not 
rather have turned in the direction of Jerusalem, his first qibla} LI. 
expressly affirms elsewhere 1 that while he was in Mecca Muhammad when 
praying turned his face towards Syria. The second account says nothing 
about the direction of his prayer. On the whole, then, the second tradition 
as transmitted by Salama must be given the preference. 

It is quite easy to see why I.H. a century later omitted both traditions; 
they were offensive to the ruling house of 'Abbas as they drew attention 
to an unhappy past which the rulers, now champions of orthodoxy, would 
fain have forgotten. But why did LI. report them both, if in fact he did ? 
On the whole it seems most reasonable to suppose that he first dictated the 
tradition which Yunus heard in Kufa, notorious for its attachment to the 
Alid party, and that he afterwards dropped it and substituted the second 
version which Salama heard in Ray some years later before he went on to 
Baghdad. T. with his usual thoroughness reported both traditions. The 
only alternative is to suppose that the reference to the conquests is an 

There is a subtle difference between these two variants which ought not 
to be overlooked. At first sight it would seem to be a mere detail that in the 
first tradition 'Afif wished that he had been the third to pray the Muslim 
prayer. Now there were already three — Muhammad, Khadija, and Ali. In 
the second tradition he wished that he had been the fourth. If this latter 
is the original form of the tradition it means simply that he wished that he 
had been the first man outside the prophet's family circle to accept Islam. 
But the first tradition means more than this: by eliminating, as it were, 
Muhammad himself from the trio it means that Ali was the second human 
being and the first male to accept Islam and to stand with Khadija at the 
head of all Muslims in the order of priority. This has always been the 
claims of the Shi'a and to this day the priority of Ali in this respect is 
hotly disputed. 2 

1 p. 190. 

2 T- devotes a long section to the traditional claims of Ali, Abu Bakr, and Zayd b. 
Hiritha, 1150-08. Cf. I.H. 159- 

Introduction xxiii 

Intrinsically as we have argued, the second tradition has the better 
claim to authenticity. If that is admitted it follows that either I.I. or his 
ratal adapted it in the interest of the Alid cause. In view of the accusation 
of partiality towards the Shi'a which was levelled against I.I. 1 it seems 
probable that he himself gave a subtle twist to the tradition that had come 
down to him from 'Afif, and afterwards played for safety. 

As one would expect of a book which was written in the eighth century 
about a great religious reformer, miracles are accepted as a matter of 
course. It does not matter if a person's alleged power to work miracles 
makes his early sufferings and failures unintelligible, nor docs it matter if 
the person concerned expressly disclaimed all such powers apart from the 
recitation of the Quran itself. 2 The Near East has produced an enormous 
number of books on the miracles of saints and holy men and it would be 
strange indeed if Islam had not followed in the footsteps of its predecessors 
in glorifying the achievements of its great leader at the expense of his human 
greatness. Here we are concerned simply with the literary form of such 
stories, the authorities that are quoted for them, and the way in which our 
author deals with them. To mention a few: 3 the prophet summoned a 
tree to him and it stood before him. He told it to go back again and back it 
went. It is interesting to ^otice that the person for whose benefit this 
miracle was wrought regarded it as sorcery. The author's father, Ishaq b. 
Yasar, is responsible for the tale. Another tradition from 'Amr b. 'Ubayd, 
who claimed to have had it from Jabir b. 'Abdullah via al-Hasan, is merely 
a midrash composed to explain Sura 5. 14 where it is said that God kept 
the hands of Muhammad's enemies from doing him violence. The story 
of the throne of God shaking when the doors of heaven were opened to 
receive Sa'd shows how these stories grew in the telling. Mu'adh b. 
Rifa'a al-Zuraql reported on the authority of 'anyone you like among my 
clan' that when Sa'd died Gabriel visited the prophet and asked him who it 
was that had caused such commotion in heaven, whereupon Muhammad, 
knowing that it must be Sa'd, hurried off at once to find that he had died. 
However, more was said on the subject: 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr from 
'Amra d. 'Abdu'l-Rahman reported that 'A'isha met Sa'd's cousin outside 
Mecca and asked him why he did not show more grief for one whose 
arrival had shaken the very throne of God. An anonymous informant 
claimed to have heard from al-Hasan al-Basri that the pallbearers found 
the corpse of this fat, heavy man unexpectedly light, and the prophet told 
them that there were other unseen bearers taking the weight with them; 
and again it is repeated that the throne shook. Suhayll has a fairly long 
passage on the tradition which goes to show that serious minded men did 
not like this story at all. Some scholars tried to whittle away the meaning 
by suggesting that the shaking of the throne was a metaphor for the joy 

1 v.i. 1 Sura 17. 95 ' Am 1 anything but a human messenger* and cf. 29. 49. 

3 pp. 258. 663, 698. J. Horovitz, Der Islam, v. 1914, pp. 4i"53> has collected and dis- 
cussed their origin and antecedents in the hagiology of the East. 

xxiv The Life of Muhammad 

in heaven at Sa'd's arrival; others claimed that the angelic bearers of the 
throne were meant. But Suhayli will have none of this. The throne is a 
treated object and so it can move. Therefore none has the right to depart 
from the plain meaning of the words. Moreover, the tradition is authentic 
while traditions like that of al-Barra' to the effect that it was Sa'd's bed 
that shook are rightly ignored by the learned. He goes on to point out that 
al-Bukhari accepted the tradition not only on the authority of Jabir but 
also on the report of a number of other companions of the prophet— a 
further indication of the snowball growth of the legend. S. finds it most 
surprising that Malik rejected the hadith and he adds naively from the 
point of view of later generations that Malik would not have it mentioned 
despite the soundness of its transmission and the multitude of narrators, 
and he adds that it may be that Malik did not regard the tradition as sound! 
The passage is instructive in that it shows how far I.I. could go in the 
face of one of the most learned of his contemporaries in Medina. Posterity 
has sided with I.I. on this matter, but Malik clearly had many on his side 
at the time, men who would not take at its face value a story which they 
could not reject out of hand, as he did, with the weight of contemporary 
opinion behind it. 

Another feature that stands out clearly from time to time is the insertion 
of popular stories on the Goldilocks model. For the sake of the reader 
I have rendered these stories in accord with modern usage, as the repetition 
of the same words and the same answer again and again is intolerable to 
the modern adult. Such stories are the stock-in-trade of the Arabian 
gdss and the storyteller all the world over and invariably lead up to the 
climax which it is the speaker's intention to withhold until he has his 
audience on tiptoe. A good example of such stories is the narrative of 
Muhammad's arrival in Medina and the invitation of one clan after another, 
always declined with the same words. 1 

After giving due weight to the pressure of hagiology on the writer and his 
leaning towards the Shi'a one must, I think, affirm that the life of Muham- 
mad is recorded with honesty and truthfulness and, too, an impartiality 
which is rare in such writings. Who can read the story of al-Zabir, 2 who 
was given his life, family, and belongings but did not want to live when the 
best men of his people had been slain, without admitting that here we have 
a true account of what actually happened? Similarly who but an impartial 
historian would have included verses in which the noble generous character 
of the Jews of the Hijaz was lauded and lamented ? The scepticism of 
earlier writers seems to me excessive and unjustified. We have only to 
compare later Lives of Muhammad to see the difference between the 
historical and the ideal Muhammad. 3 

J 335 f. ■ p. 691. 

Noldeke, Islam, v, 1914, has drawn attention to many incidents and characteristics of 
the Sira which could not have been invented and which show intimate knowledge of the 



The Poetry 

Doubts and misgivings about the authenticity of the poems in the Sira 
are expressed so often by I.H. that no reference to them need be given 
here. Nevertheless, one should be on one's guard against the tendency to 
condemn all the poetry out of hand. What I.H. says about the poetry of 
those who took part in the battle of Badr, whether or not it includes the 
verses of Hassan b. Thabit, namely 'These verses (of Abu Us5ma) are the 
most authentic of those (attributed to) the men of Badr* (p. 534), casts 
grave doubt on the authenticity of a large section of the poetry of the 
Sira. Nevertheless I.I. is not to be blamed for the inclusion of much that 
is undoubtedly spurious without a thorough investigation which has not 
yet been undertaken. The poems he cites on pp. 284 and 728 he got from 
'Asim b. Qat§da, while those on pp. 590, 789, and 793 come from "Abdullah 
b. Abu Bakr. 1 We know, too, that Musa b. 'Uqba cited verses. 2 

An early critic of poetry, al-Jumahi 3 (d. 231), though perhaps rather 
one-sided and ill balanced in his judgement on 1. 1., makes some observa- 
tions which cannot fail to carry conviction. He says: 'Muhammad b. 
Ishaq was one of those who did harm to poetry and corrupted it and passed 
on all sorts of -rubbish. He was one of those learned in the biography of the 
prophet and people quoted poems on his authority. He used to excuse 
himself by saying that he knew nothing about poetry and that he merely 
passed on what was communicated to him. But that was no excuse, for he 
wrote down in the Sira poems ascribed to men who had never uttered a 
line of verse and of women too. He even went to the length of including 
poems of 'Ad and Thamud! Could he not have asked himself who had 
handed on these verses for thousands of years when God said: "He 
destroyed the first 'Ad and Thamud and left none remaining" 4 while of 
'Ad he said "Can you see anything remaining of them?" 5 and "Only God 
knows 'Ad and Thamud and those who came after them." >6 Some of these 
poems are quoted by T. 7 

L al-Nadlm 8 goes farther by suggesting that I.I. was party to the fraud: 
the verses were composed for him, and when he was asked to include them 
in his book he did so and brought himself into ill repute with the rhapso- 
dists. Occasionally LI. says who the authority for the poetry was. 9 

Obviously at this date criticism of the poetry of the Sira can be based 
only on historical and perhaps in a lesser degree on literary and stylistic 
grounds. Some of the poetry dealing with raids and skirmishes, tribal 
boasting, and elegies seems to come from contemporary sources, and no 
reasonable person would deny that poetic contests between Meccan and 
Medinan poets really took place: everything we know of ancient Arab 

1 Also pp. 950-1 . Cf. the corresponding passages in f. 1732, 1735. 

2 Cf. LS. iii. 241. 

3 Tabaqdt al-Shu'ard', ed. J. Hell, Leiden, 1916, p. 4. 

4 Sura 53. si. * Sura 69. 8. 6 Sura 14. 9. 
7 Horovitx, op. cit., cites i. 236, 237, 241, 242. 

• Al-Fihrist, Cairo, 136. 9 p. 108. 


The Life of Muhammad 

society would require us to look for such effusions. As Horovitz pointed 
out, in pre- Islamic poetry these poetical contests are frequent, and it 
might be added that in early Hebrew history verses are frequently inserted 
in the narratives and often put into the mouths of the heroes of the hour. 
Thus, apart from those poems which undoubtedly were called forth by the 
events they commemorated, poetry was an integral part of a racial conven- 
tion which no writer of history could afford to ignore. Probably if all the 
poetry which I.I. included in the Sir a had reached that standard of excel- 
lence which his readers were accustomed to expect, none of these charges 
would have been levelled against him. But when he included verses which 
were palpably banal, and were at the same time untrue to circumstance, 
uninspired and trivial, as many undoubtedly are, the developed aesthetic 
sense of the Arabs which is most delicate where poetry is concerned rejected 
what he wrote. As ar-Jumahl said, he brought poetry itself into disrepute 
by the balderdash he admitted into his otherwise excellent work. And it did 
not improve matters that much that was good was mingled with more that 
was bad. It is more than likely that LI. himself was conscious that all was 
not well with this poetry, for the general practice of writers is to put the 
verse into the narrative at the crucial moment (as I.I. at times does), 
whereas after the prose account of Badr and Uhud he lumps together a 
whole collection of verse by various 'poets'. It is as though he were 
silently saying 'This is what has been handed on to me. I know nothing 
about poetry and you must make your own anthology." Even so, whatever 
his shortcomings were, it is only fair to bear in mind that I.H. often inserts 
a note to the effect that the text before him contains lines or words which 
have not I.I.'s authority. 

The subject is one that calls for detailed and careful literary criticism. 
The history of the cliches, similes, and metaphors needs investigation by a 
scholar thorougnly grounded in the poetry of the pre- Islamic and Umay- 
yad eras. Until this preliminary work has been successfully accomplished 
it would be premature to pass judgement on the poetry of the Sira as a 
whole. Ancient poetry has suffered greatly at the hands of forgers, 
plagiarists, and philologists, and the diwans of later poets have not escaped 
the dishonest rduri. Hassan b. Thabit, the prophet's own poet, has many 
poems to his name which he would be astounded to hear, and there are 
comparatively few poets of whom it could be said that the diwans bearing 
their names contained nothing for which they were not responsible. 2 

1 And this was precisely his attitude if al-Jumahi is to be believed. 

2 I should hardly care to go so far as to assert that the fifth-century poet 'Amr b. Qami'a 
has exercised a direct influence on the poetry of the Sira; but the fact remains that there is 
a great similarity. It is inevitable that the themes of Arab verse should recur constantly. 
Beduin life varied little from generation to generation. Their horizon was bounded by 
deserts, and consequently camels and horses, war and its weapons, hospitality and tribal 
pride were constantly mentioned in song. To trace these themes back to their first singers 
would be a task that would leave little leisure for more profitable studies; but nevertheless 
it is worth noting that the following themes recur in 'Amr and the Sha : the generous man 
who slaughters camels for the hungry guest in winter when famine deprives even the rich of 



Since these words were written two theses have been written in the 
University of London: the first by Dr. M. A. 'Azzam deals with the style, 
language, and authenticity of the poetry contained in the Sira ; the second 
by Dr. W. 'Arafat with the Divan of Hassan b. Thabit. A brief summary of 
their findings will not be out of place here. 

Between the period covered by the Sira and the editing of the book 
itself loom the two tragedies of Karbala', when al-Husayn and his followers 
were slain in 61, and the sack of Medina in a.h. 63 when some ten thousand 
of the Ansar including no less than eighty of the prophet's companions 
are said to have been put to death. Much of the poetry of the Sira was 
meant to be read against the background of those tragedies. Its aim is to 
set forth the claims of the Ansar to prominence in Islam not only as men 
who supported the prophet when the Quraysh opposed him, but as men 
descended from kings. The prophet was the grandson of 'Abdu'I-Mut- 
talib, who was the son of Hashim and a woman of the B. al-Xajjar, and so 
of YamanI stock. 'Your mother was of the pure stock of Khuza'a. ... To 
the heroes of Saba her line goes back', says the poet in his elegy on 'Abdu'l- 

Apart from their great service to the prophet in giving him a home when 
Quraysh cast him out, the Ansar long before had been partners with 
Quraysh, for was it not Rizah, the half-brother of Qusayy, who came to the 
aid of the ancestors of Quraysh from the Yaman ? Had it not been for the 
Ansar there would have been no Islam: had it not been for their ancestors, 
the poet implies, Quraysh would not have been established in Mecca. 

On p. 18 there is thinly disguised Ansarl-Shi'a propaganda: 'The one 
you killed was the best of us. The one who lived is lord over us and all of 
you are lords' would be recognized by many as a reference to the killing of 
al-Husayn and the 'lords' would be the Umayyads. The account of the 
Tubba's march against Mecca and his great respect for its sanctity stands 
in clear contrast with the treatment it received from the Umayyads when 
al-Hajjaj bombarded it. 

wealth, when even kinsmen refuse their help; the man who entertains when the camels' 
udders are dry; the cauldron full of the hump and fat of the camel; those who devote the 
game of maytir to hospitality, distributing the charge among themselves as the arrows dic- 
tate; the milk of war; war a milch camel; war drawing blood like buckets from a well; a 
morning draught of the same; the sword blade polished by the armourer; journeys in noon- 
day heat when even the locust rests; the horse that can outrun the wild as*; the flash of the 
sun on the helmets of the warriors; the chain armour shining like a rippling pool. However 
interesting this comparison might prove to be, the presence of these cliches and themes in 
other poets makes it hazardous to assert that 'Amr had a predominating influence. More- 
over, what we seek is a pseudo-poet of Umayyad times; and here a hint thrown out by i 
former colleague, Dr. Abdullah al-Tayyib, to the effect that the poetry of the Sira and ttaf 
in Waq'at Siffin is very similar, if followed up would probably lead to some interesting dis- 
coveries. I.H.'s notes would be found interesting in this connexion. On p. 790 he points 
out that the words 'We have fought you about its interpretation as we fought you about its 
divine origin' were spoken by 'Ammar b. Yasir in reference to another battle [$iffin] and 
could not have been uttered by 'Abdullah b. Rawaha at the conquest of Mecca, because the 
Meccans, being pagans, did not believe in the Quran, so that there was no question of a 
rival interpretation. ' P- "3- 

xxviii The Life of Muhammad 

After a careful study of the language and style of this verse Dr. 'Azzam 
comes to the conclusion that comparatively little of it dates from the time 
of the prophet. 

Dr. 'Arafat comes to much the same conclusion with regard to the 
verse attributed to Hassan. A few of the outstanding arguments will be 
given here. He finds that the eulogy on the Ansar (p. 893) which is attri- 
buted to Ka'b b. Zuhayr is in the same rhyme and metre as the poem of 
al-Akhtal' which was written at the instigation of Yazld. There we find 
the words 'Baseness is under the turbans of the Ansar'. A careful com- 
parison of the relevant passages in the two poems shows that the one in the 
Sira is the answer to the one in the Aghdni. 

Abdullah b. Abu Bakr is reported to have said: 'The Ansar were 
respected and feared until the battle of Harra; afterwards people were 
emboldened to attack them and they occupied a lowly place.' It is in these 
circumstances, not those of the prophet's companions daily increasing in 
power and prestige, that we must look for the background of 'You will find 
that none ill uses or abuses us but a base fellow who has gone astray' (p. 626). 

On p. 474 a poem which I.H. attributes to Hassan's son, 'Abdu'l-Rah- 
man, obviously dates from a later generation: 'My people are those who 
sheltered the prophet and believed in him when the people of the land were 
unbelievers except for choice souls who were forerunners of righteous men 
and who were helpers with the helpers.' What can this mean but that some- 
one is speaking of the past services of his people to the prophet ? Further, 
it is strange language to impute to Hassan. It was he who called the new- 
comers vagrants jaldbib and regarded them as an unmitigated nuisance. 
He did not house any of the muhdjirin, nor was he a 'brother' to one of 
them. A still clearer reference to a former generation is to be found on 
p. 927 (again I.H. attributed it to Abdu'l-Rahman) which says: 'Those 
people were the prophet's helpers and they are my people ; to them I come 
when I relate my descent.' 

Dr. 'Arafat notes that in the Sira there are seventy-eight poems attri- 
buted to Hassan ; the authenticity of fifteen of them is questioned or denied 
outright. The text of the poem on p. 738 in its rival forms illustrates the 
way in which verses attributed to Hassan were interpolated and additional 
verses fabricated. Here T. gives only the first five verses; the Diudn 
interpolates two verses after the first line and adds two at the end. On 
the other hand, the last three verses in the Sira are not to be found in 
either of the other authorities. In the Aghdni 2 the poem is still longer and 
according to the rixvdya of Mus'ab but without al-Zuhri's authority. The 
facts which emerge from a study of the circumstances which surround this 
poem are: 

1. HassSn resented the growing numbers and influence of the Muslim 

1 Agh. xiii. 148, xiv. 122. 

1 Cairo, 1 93 1, iv. 159. Cf. 157. where the shorter version of T- is given. 


2. After the attack on B. al-Mustaliq a quarrel arose between the 
Meccans and Medinans about the use of a well. 'Abdullah b. Ubayy 
said: 'They rival our numbers kdthara;' he called them jaldblb and 
threatened that when they got back to Medina the stronger aazz 
would drive out the weaker. The words italicized are the very words 
used by Hassan in this poem. From this it is clear that Hassan is 
expressing not only his own opinion about the Muslims but that of 
'Abdullah b. Ubayy and his party. 

3. It was during this journey that the scandal about 'A'isha arose. 

4. Safwan struck Hassan with his sword. According to the introduction 
to the poem in the Dtwdn Safwan attacked Hassan because he had 
accused him of spending the night with 'A'isha. But in the Aghdnl 
Safwan wounded Hassan at the instigation of the prophet because 
his house was the centre of disaffection against the Muslims. The 
other explanation of the attack on Hassan is added in al-Aghdni as an 
afterthought. However, there is no reason why both versions should 
not be correct. Hassan's most dangerous offence was his complaint 
against the Muslim intruders; but when he slandered 'A'isha he 
provided the prophet with an admirable reason for punishing him 
severely for an offence which would not engage the sympathies of the 
Ansarls. Whether loyal or disaffected, they could hardly support 
their comrade in such a matter. 

With the further ramifications of the story we are not concerned; 
sufficient has been said to show that the poem so far as verse 5 is genuine 
and is directed solely against the Muslim refugees whose presence had 
become a nuisance to Hassan. In this poem he says nothing at all about 
Safwan. The last three lines have doubtless been added to whitewash 
Hassan. As poetry they will not bear comparison with the genuine verses 
and T. was thoroughly justified in discarding them. 

Another specimen of the spurious poetry fathered on Hassan is to be. 
found on p. 936 which belongs to a later generation. Here it is not the 
prophet who is praised but his 'house': 'How noble are the people (qaum) 
whose party (shi'a) is the prophet! . . . They are the best of all living 
creatures.' When we remember the resentment with which the Ans5r in 
general and Hassan in particular felt when they got no share in the booty 
of Hunayn, the line 'Take from them what comes when they are angry and 
set not your hearts on what they withhold* is singularly inept. 

Another point which militates against the authenticity of poems attri- 
buted to Hassan is the prominence which is often given to the Aus. It 
cannot be supposed that a Khazrajite would ignore the achievements of his 
own tribe or put them in the second place as on p. 455 when we remember 
that the hostility between the two tribes persisted long after Islam was 
established. A plain example of a later Ansari's work is given on p. 711, 
where the poem begins: 'O my people is there any defence against fate and 

XX x The Life of Muhammad 

can the good old days return?' an impossible attitude for a Muslim to take 
during the prophet's lifetime. 

Again, when Hassan is reported to have said 'The best of the believers 
have followed one another to death' (p. 799), it is sufficient to remember 
that practically all the prophet's principal companions survived Uhud. 
But when this careless forger wrote all the best Muslims had long been 
dead. However, we have not got to his main point which is to glorify the 
house of Hashim: 'They are God's near ones. He sent down His wisdom 
upon them and among them is the purified bringer of the book.' Here the 
Alids arc the 'friends' or 'saints' of God and Muhammad is little more than 
a member of their family. Divine wisdom is given to them. 

These two studies lay bare the wretched language in which many of 
these poems are written and incidentally bring out the difficulties which a 
translator has to cope with when the rules of Arabic syntax and the mor- 
phology of the language are treated with scant respect. In fine it may be 
said that their well-documented conclusions made it abundantly clear 
that the judgement of the ancient critics— particularly al-Jumahi— is justi- 
fied up to the hilt. 1 

The partial restoration of the lost original 
Once the original text of I.I. existed in at least fifteen riwayas: 1 

1. Ibrahim b. Sa'd, 110-84 Medina 

2. Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'i, d. 183 Kufa 

3. 'Abdullah b. Idris al-Audl, 115-92 

4. Yunus b. Bukayr, d. 199 

5. 'Abda b. Sulayman, d. 187/8 

6. 'Abdullah b. Numayr, 115-99 

7. Yahya b. Sa'id al-UmawI, 114-94 Baghdad 

8. Jarir b. Hazim, 85-170 Basra 

9. Harun b. Abu'Isa Basra? 

10. Salama b. al-Fadl al-Abrash, d. 191 Ray 

11. Ali b. Mujahid, d. c. 180 „ 

12. Ibrahim b. al-Mukhtar 

13. Sa'id b. Bazi' 

14. 'Uthman b. Saj 

15. Muhammad b. Salama al-Harrani, d. 191 

It has been my aim to restore so far as is now possible the text of I.I. 
as it left his pen or as he dictated it to his hearers, from excerpts in later 
texts, disregarding the Mabda section as I.H. did and for at least one of 

• Sec further A. Guillaume, 'The Biography of the Prophet in Recent Research', Islamic 

Quarterly Review, 1954- , . - „ 

1 I have adopted the list given by FQck in his admirable monograph, p. 44. where full 
biographical details are to be found. The towns are those at which the individuals named 
heard I.I.'s lectures. 

Introduction xxxi 

his reasons. At first I was tempted to think that a great deal of the original 
had been lost— and it may well be that it has been lost— for it is clear that 
the scurrilous attacks on the prophet which I.H. mentions in his Introduc- 
tion are not to be found anywhere. But on the whole I think it is likely 
that we have the greater part of what I.I. wrote. Doubtless more was said 
for Ali and against 'Abbas, but it is unlikely that such material would add 
much to our knowledge of the history of the period. Possibly to us the 
most interesting excisions would be paragraphs containing information 
which I.I. gathered from Jews and Christians; but in all probability the 
Mabda contained most of such passages. Still, it is unlikely that those 
passages which have been allowed to remain would have excited the 
annoyance that some of his early critics express on this score. Ibnu'l- 
Kalbi's K. al-Asndm gives a warning against exaggerated hopes. Yaqut 
had made copious extracts from it in his Geographical Dictionary, so 
interesting and so important for our knowledge of the old Arabian heathen- 
ism that the great Noldeke expressed the hope that he would live to see the 
text of the lost original discovered. He did; but a collation of the original 
work w ith the excerpts made by Yaqut shows that practically everything 
of value had been used and nothing of real significance was to be learned 
from the discovery of the mother text. However, in a text of the nature of 
the Stra it is just possible that a twist may be given to the narrative by an 
editor such as I.H. 

The writers from whom some of the original can be recovered are: 

1. Muhammad b. 'Umar al-Waqidl, d. 207 

2. Abu'l-Walid Muhammad b. Abdullah al-Azraqi from his grand- 

father (d. c. 220) 

3. Muhammad b. Sa'd, d. 230 

4. Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad b. Muslim b. Qutayba, d. 270 or 276 

5. Ahmad b. Yahya al-Baladhuri, d. 279 

6. Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, d. 310 

7. Abu Sa'id al-Hasan b. 'Abdullah al-Sirafl, d. 368. 

8. Abu'l-Hasan 'All b. Muhammad b. Habib al-Mawardl, d. 450 

9. Abu'l-Hasan 'All b. al-Athir, d. 630 

10. Yusuf b. Yahya al-Tadali known as L al-Zayyat, d. 627 

11. Isma'il b. 'Umar b. Kathir, d. 774 

12. AbO'l-Fadl Ahmad b. 'All . . . b. Hajar al-'Asqalanl, d. 852/1449. 

For our purpose none of these has the importance of T. whose text 
rests on the ritoaya of Salama and Yunus b. Bukayr. Besides the important 
textual variants which will be found in the translation from time to time, 
he it is who reports from I.I. the prophet's temporary concession to poly- 
theism at Mecca (1190 f.) and the capture of 'Abbas at Badr (1441). 

1. al-Waqidl. Only the Maghazi has survived from the very large 
number of his writings. A third of it was published by von Kremer in 
1856 from a poor manuscript, and until the work has been edited its value 

xxxii The Life of Muhammad 

cannot be accurately assessed. 1 The abridged translation by Wellhausen 2 
gives the reader all the salient facts, but his method of epitomizing enabled 
him to avoid difficulties in the text which call for explanation. Waqidi 
makes no mention of I.I. among his authorities. The reason for this 
doubtless is that he did not want to refer to a man who already enjoyed a 
great reputation as an authority on maghdzi and so let it seem that his own 
book was a mere amplification of his predecessor's. It is by no means 
certain that he made use of I.I.'s book, or traditional lore, for he quoted 
his authorities, e.g. al-Zuhrl, Ma'mar, and others, directly. On the other 
hand, he did not belittle I.I. of whom he spoke warmly as a chronicler, 
genealogist, and traditionist, who transmitted poetry and was an indefati- 
gable searcher of tradition, a man to be trusted. 3 

It follows that strictly Waqidi is not a writer from whom in the present 
state of our knowledge we can reconstruct the original of the Sira ; but as 
his narrative often runs parallel with I.I.'s work, sometimes abridging, 
sometimes expanding, his stories it is a valuable if uncontrolled supporter 
thereof. Not until his Maghdzi has been published and studied as it 
deserves to be can a satisfactory comparison of the two books be made. 
One thing is abundantly clear, namely that Waqidi often includes stories 
which obviously come from eyewitnesses and often throw valuable light 
on events which are obscure in I.I. Indeed it ought to be said that the 
Sira is incomplete without Waqidi. 4 

2. Al-Azraqi's Akhbar Makka is of great value in matters archaeological. 
His authority is 'Uthman b. Saj. 

3. I. Sa'd's Akhbar u'l-Nabi is more or less as he communicated it to 
his pupils. This was afterwards combined with his Tabaqdt in 300 by 
I. Ma'ruf. Volumes la, b and Ila, b in the Berlin edition deal with the 
former prophets, Muhammad's childhood, his mission, the hijra, and his 
campaigns, ending with his death, burial, and elegies thereon. I.S. has 
much more to say on some matters than LI., e.g. letters and embassies, and 
the prophet's last illness, while he shows no interest in pre-Islamic Arabia. 
For the Maghdzi Waqidi is his main authority. The Tabaqdt deals with the 
prophet's companions and the transmitters of tradition, including the 

4. L Qutayba's K. al-Ma'drif contain a few short and inexact citations. 

5. Al-Bal5dhuri's Futuhu'l-Bulddn adds very little to our knowledge. 
De Goeje's index gives twelve references. The first two 6 which De 
Goeje, followed by Noldeke, 7 notes as not being in the Sira would never 

1 An edition from two MSS. in the B.M. is being prepared by my colleague Mr. J. M. B. 

1 Muhammad in Medina, Berlin, 1882. ' T. iii. 2512. 

4 Reluctantly in these difficult days I have given up my original intention to publish a 
translation of the two works side by side. I have every hope that it will be carried to a 
successful conclusion by the scholar mentioned above. 

5 See further Horovitz, op. cit., and Otto Loth, Dai Clasienbuch des Ibn Sa'd, Leipzig, 
1869. For a list of quotations from I.I. see Noldeke, G.Q. u. 135. 

6 p. 10. » G.Q. ii. 139. 

Introduction xxxiii 

have found a place there as they obviously belong to I.I.'s lost book on 
fiqh. They deal with the question of how much water a man may retain 
on his land before he lets it flow down to his neighbour's ground. The 
last five citations belong to the age of the caliphs and need not concern us. 
The remainder have a slight value for textual criticism. Sometimes they 
lend support to TVs version, and once at least a citation proves that the 
tradition was not preserved orally because the variant readings could only 
have come about through a transfer of a dot from the first to the second 
letter with the consequent misreading of the third. The citations are brief 
and concise: they tell all the truth that the writer needed for his purpose 
but not the whole truth, which would have been irrelevant. 

6. TabarT. A list of the additions to I.H.'s recension has been given by 
Noldeke 1 and enough has been said about his value as a witness to the 
original text of the Sira. No attempt has been made to recover the lost 
part of the Mabda from his Tafsir. Where his variants are merely stylistic 
and do not affect the sense of the passage I have ignored them. Practically 
all of them will be found in the footnotes to the Leyden edition. He was 
familiar with four of the recensions, numbers 4, 7, 9, and 10 on the list 
given above, much the most frequently cited being Yunus b. Bukayr. On 
one occasion (1074. 12) he remarks that I.I.'s account is 'more satisfactory 
than that of Hisham b. Muhammad' [al-Kalbi d. 204 or 206]. I.H. he 
ignores altogether and he omits a good deal of the poetry now in the Sira. 
Whether his selection was governed by taste, whether he thought some of it 
irrelevant, or whether he regarded it as spurious I can find no indication. 
He often gives the isnad which is lacking in I.I. (cf. 1794. 12). On one 
occasion at least (cf. W. 422 with T. 1271) it looks as if the narrative has 
been deliberately recast. T. frequently omits the tasliya and tardiya as 
ancient writers did. 2 I.H. omits Ka'b's poem and the mention of its pro- 
voking a killing, cf. 651 with T. 1445. 

7. Al-Sirafi contributes an interesting addition to W. 882. 

8. Al-Mawardi has nothing of importance to add. 

9. I. al-Athir in his Kdtnil is prone to throw his authorities together 
and produce a smooth running account from the sum of what they all 
said, dropping all subordinate details. However, he quotes I.I. ten times. 3 

10. I. al-Zayyat, see on p. 640 (W.). 

11. I. Kathir sometimes agrees with I.H. verbatim. Sometimes he 
quotes Ibn Bukayr where he offers what is in effect the same stories in 
different words. I propose to devote a special study to this rizvaya. 

12. Ibn Hajar. Again little of importance. 4 

1 G.Q. ii. 139 f. 

* Cf. the autograph MS. of al-Shafi'i's secretory. The occurrence of the tasliya written 
out in full ten times or more on a single page of a modern edition smacks of servility rather 
than reverence, and is an innovation; a useful criterion for dating a MS., but a sore trial to 
the reader of a modern printed text. 3 G.Q. ii. 143. 

4 Professor Krenkow said in a letter that the Mustadrak of al-rjakim al-Naysaburi con- 
tains extracts from I.I. via Yunus b. Bukayr, but as this enormoua work is not indexed I 

B 4080 C 

xxx iv The Life of Muhammad 

Ibn Ishdq's reputation 

Unfortunately for our purpose which is to record the opinion of our 
author's co-religionists on his trustworthiness as a historian, their judge- 
ment is affected by his other writings, one of which called Sunan is men- 
tioned by Hajjl Khalifa.' This was freely quoted by Abu Yusuf (d. 182), 2 
but failed to hold its own and went out of circulation comparatively early. 
If we knew more about the contents of this book, which by reason of its 
early date presumably would have had a considerable influence on the 
daily life of Muslims had it been allowed to continue to challenge other 
reporters of the apostle's deeds and words, we should be the better able to 
assess the value and relevance of early Muslim criticism on LI. when it 
was most definitely hostile. It is not always his book the Sira which is 
attacked but the man himself, and if his sunna work ran counter to the 
schools of law that were in process of development the author could not 
hope to escape strong condemnation. It is most important that this fact 
should not be overlooked. In the passage Wiistenfeld quoted 3 from 
Abu'l-Fath M. b. M. b. Sayyidu'l-Nas al-Ya'mari al-AndalusI (d 1. 734/ 
1334) the distinction between traditions of a general nature and traditions 
about the prophet's sunna is clear and unmistakable. Ahmad b. Hanbal s 
son stated that his father included I.I.'s hadith in his Musnad, but refused 
to regard him as an authority on sunan. While it is true that there arc a 
few stories in the Sira which report the prophet's practice m certain 
matters and so provide an authoritative guide for the future behaviour of 
the faithful in similar circumstances, and while it is also true that in one or 
two instances the principle underlying these actions is in conflict with the 
findings of later lawyers, they form an insignificant part of the Sua, and it 
may safely be concluded that I. Hanbal's objection to I.I. s authority 
applies almost exclusively to his lost work, the Sunan. 

Apostolic tradition in Islam, as Goldziher showed long ago, is the 
battlefield of warring sects striving for the mastery of men's minds and the 
control of their behaviour with all the weight that Muhammad's presumed 
or fabricated example could bring to bear. The earlier the tradition or 
collection of traditions, the less this tendency is in evidence; but we have 
already seen that I.I. occasionally succumbed to the temptation to glorify 
Ali at the expense of 'Abbas. This would seem to be supremely unneces- 
sary when one can read exactly what 'Abbas's position was: at first hostile; 
secondly neutral; and lastly, when the issue was no longer in doubt, a 
professed Muslim. Obviously since no attempt is made to conceal or 
diminish the affectionate loyalty of Abu Bakr or the staunch championship 
of 'Umar, our author was no unbalanced fanatical supporter of the claims 
of Ali. Ali appears as the great warrior when rival champions fought 

have not been able to collate the passages with the text of the Sira. See also what has been 
said about excerpts in Suhayli's al-Raudul-Unuf under I.H. 

1 Istanbul, 1945. »• loc8 - , 

* See Fuck, 18. »• xvm ' 



between the opposing ranks, but the inestimable services of his two 
senior contemporaries are never thrust into the background. 

In the history of tradition in the technical sense, that is to say in the 
corpus of hadith venerated by Sunnis everywhere, I.I. takes a minor 
position in spite of his great and obvious merits as an honest, straight- 
forward collector of all the information that was known about Muhammad. 
There are several reasons for this: the principal reason is that he had no 
information to give on all the everyday matters which fill the canonical 
books of tradition, or when he had he put them in his Sunan. If he reported 
Muhammad's words it was in reference to a particular event in the narra- 
tive he recorded; they were evoked naturally by the circumstances. Thus 
al-Bukhari, though he often mentions I.I. in the headings of his chapters, 
hardly if ever cites him for the matter of a tradition, unless that tradition 
is supported by another isndd. Muslim, who classifies traditions as genuine, 
good, and weak, puts I.I. in the second category. To anyone with an 
historical sense this was a monstrous injustice, but it must be remembered 
that by the middle of the third century the form of a hadith mattered more 
than its substance, and provided that the chain of guarantors was un- 
exceptionable anything could be included. 

The best and most comprehensive summary of Muslim opinion of I.I. is 
that of I. Sayyidu'l-Nas in his 'Uyun al-Athar fi fununVl-maghdzi ica'l- 
shamdHli xva l-siyar. He collected all the references to our author that he 
could find, both favourable and unfavourable, and then answered the 
attacks that had been made on him. The relevant passage will be found in 
W. 1 with a translation in German. The following is a short summary of 
this account: 

(a) Those favourable to I.I. were: 'The best informed man about the 
maghdzl is I.I. al-Zuhri: Knowledge will remain in Medina as along as 
I.I. lives.' 

Shu'ba, 85-160: Truthful in tradition, the amir of traditionists because 
of his memory. 

Sufyan b. 'Uyayna, 107-98: I sat with him some seventy years 2 and 
none of the Medinans suspected him or spoke disparagingly of him. 

AbQ Zur'a, d. 281: Older scholars drew from him and professional 
traditionists tested him and found him truthful. When he reminded 
Duhaym of Malik's distrust of I.I. he denied that it referred to his 
veracity as a traditionist, but to his qadarite heresy. 

Abu Hatim: His traditions arc copied down (by others). 

I. al-MadinT: Apostolic tradition originally lay with 6 men; then it 
became the property of 12, of whom I.I. is one. 

al-Shafi'i: He who wants to study the maghdzi deeply must consult I.I. 

'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada: Knowledge will remain among men as long as 
I.I. lives. 

1 n - x-xxiii. 2 As I.I. died in 150 this was impossible. 

zxxvi The Life of Muhammad 

Abu Mu'awiya: A great memory: others confided their traditions to 

his memory for safe keeping, 
al- Bukhari: Al-Zuhrl used to get his knowledge of the maghdzl from I.I. 
'Abdullah b. Idrls al-Audi: was amazed at his learning and often cited 


Mus'ab: He was attacked for reasons which had nothing to do with 

Yazld b. Hariin : Were there a supreme relator of tradition it would be I. I. 

Ali b. al-Madini: His ahadith are sound. He had a great reputation in 
Medina. Hisham b. 'Urwa's objection to him is no argument against 
him. He may indeed have talked to the latter's wife when he was a 
young man. His veracity in hadith is self-evident. I know only of 
two that are rejected as unsupported 1 which no other writer reported. 

al-'Ijli: Trustworthy. 

Yahya b. Ma'in: Firm in tradition. 

Ahmad b. Hanbal: Excellent in tradition. 

(b) The writer then goes on to state all that has been said against I.I. 
Omitting details of little significance we are left with the following charges 
which I. Sayyidu'l-N5s goes on to discuss and refute. Muhammad b. 
'Abdullah b. Numayr said that when I.I. reported what he had heard from 
well-known persons his traditions were good and true, but he sometimes 
reported worthless sayings from unknown people. Yahya b. al-Qattan 
would never quote him. Ahmad b. Hanbal quoted him with approval, and 
when it was remarked how excellent the stories (qi?a?) were he smiled in 
surprise. His son admitted that Ahmad incorporated many of I.I.'s 
traditions in his Musnad, but he never paid heed to them. When he was 
asked if his father regarded him as an authority on what a Muslim must 
or must not do he replied that he did not. He himself would not accept a 
tradition which only I.I. reported. He used to relate a tradition which he 
gathered from a number of people without indicating who had contributed 
its separate parts. I. al-Madlnl said* that at times he was 'fairly good'. 
Al-MaymunI reported that I. Ma'in 156-233 said he was 'weak', but others 
denied that he said so. Al-Duri said he was trustworthy but not to be used 
as an authority mfiqh, like Malik and others. Al-Nasa'i said that he was not 
strong. Al-Daraqutnl said that a tradition from I.I. on the authority of his 
father was no legal proof: it could be used only to confirm what was already 
held to be binding. Yahya b. Sa'id said that though he knew I.I. in Kufa 
he abandoned him intentionally and never wrote down traditions on his 
authority. Abu Da'ud al-Tayalisi (131-203) reported that Hammad b. 
Salima said that unless necessity demanded it he would not hand on a 
tradition from I.I. When Malik b. Anas mentioned him he said, 'he is one 
of the antichrists'. When Hisham b. 'Urwa was told that I.I. reported 
something from Fatima he said, 'the rascal lies; when did he see my wife?' 

1 These probably belong to the Sunan. 



When Abdullah b. Ahmad told his father of this he said that this was not to 
be held against I.I. ; he thought that he might well have received permission 
to interview her, but he did not know. He added that Malik was a liar. 
L Idris said that he talked to Malik about the Maghazi and how I.I. had 
said that he was their surgeon and he said, 'We drove him from Medina'. 
Makkl b. Ibrahim said that he attended lectures of his ; he used to dye his 
hair. When he mentioned traditions about the divine attributes he left 
him and never went back. On another occasion he said that when he left 
him he had attended twelve lectures of his in Ray. 

Al-Mufaddal b. Ghassan said that he was present when Yazid b. Harun 
was relating traditions in al-Baqi' when a number of Medinans were 
listening. When he mentioned I.I. they withdrew saying: 'Don't tell us 
anything that he said. We know better than he.' Yazid went among them, 
but they would not listen and so he withdrew. 

Abu Da ud said that he heard Ahmad b. Hanbal say that I.I. was a man 
with a love of tradition, so that he took other men's writings and incorporated 
them in his own. Abu 'Abdullah said that he preferred IX to Musa b. 
'Ubayda al-Rabadhi. Ahmad said that he used to relate traditions as though 
from a companion without intermediaries, while in Ibrahim b. Sa'd's book 
when there is a tradition he said 'A told me* and when that was not so he 
said 'A said'. 

AbQ 'Abdullah said that I.I. came to Baghdad and paid no attention to 
those who related hadith from al-Kalbi and others saying that he was no 
authority. Al-Fallas (d. 249) said that after being with Wahb b. Jarir 
reading before him the maghazi book which his father' had got from LI. 
we met Yahya b. Qattan who said that we had brought a pack of lies from 

Ahmad b. Hanbal said that in maghazi and such matters what I.I. said 
could be written down; but in legal matters further confirmation was 
necessary. In spite of the large number of traditions without a proper 
isnad he thought highly of him as long as he said l A told us', l B informed 
me', and 'I heard'. I. Ma'in did not like to use him as an authority in 
legal matters. Abu Hatim said that he was weak in tradition yet preferable 
to Aflah b. Said and his traditions could be written down. Sulayman 
al-Taymi called him a liar and Yahya al-Qattan said that he could only 
abandon his hadith to God; he was a liar. When Yahya asked Wuh'ayb b. 
KhSlid what made him think that I.I. was a liar he said that Malik swore 
that he was and he gave as his reason Hisham b. 'Urwa's oath to that effect. 
The latter's reason was that he reported traditions from his wife Fatima. 

Abu Bakr al-Khatib said that some authorities accepted his traditions 
as providing proof for legal precedent while others did not. Among the 
reasons for rejecting his authority was that he was a Shi'i, that he was said 
to hold the view that man had free will, and that his isndds were defective. 
As for his truthfulness, it could not be denied. 

« See No. 8. 


The Life of Muhammad 

Al-Bukhari quoted him as an authority and Muslim cited him often. 
Abu'l-Hasan b. al-Qattan relegated him to the class 'good' (hasan) because 
people disputed about him. As to the tradition from Fatima, al-Khatlb 
gave us an isnad running back through I.I. and Fatima to Asma' d. Abu 
Bakr: 'I heard a woman questioning the prophet and saying, "I have a 
rival wife and I pretend to be satisfied with what my husband has not in fact 
given me in order to anger her". He answered, "He who affects to be 
satisfied with what he has not been given is like one who dons two false 
garments".' 1 Abu'l-Hasan said that this was the tradition from Fatima 
which injured I.I.'s reputation, so that her husband Hisham called him a 
liar. Malik followed him and others imitated them. However, there are 
other traditions on her authority. 

One cannot but admire the way in which I. Sayyidu'l-Nas discusses 
these attacks on,the credibility of our author. He goes at once to the root of 
the matter and shows what little substance there is in them. Though, like 
the speakers he criticizes, he tacitly assumes that early writers ought to 
have furnished their traditions with isndds which would have met the 
rigorous demands of later generations who were familiar with a whole sea 
of spurious traditions fathered on the prophet and his companions, his 
common sense and fairness would not let him acquiesce in the charge of 
tadlis which, by omitting a link in the chain or by citing the original 
narrator without further ado, automatically invalidated a hadith in later 
days. Thus he said in effect that though I.I.'s traditions at times lack 
complete documentation there is no question of his truthfulness in the 
subject-matter he reports; and as to the charge of shi'ism and qadarite 
leanings, they are valid in another field altogether and have nothing to do 
with the Sira. Again, what if Makki b. Ibrahim did abandon his lectures 
when he heard him relate traditions about the divine attributes ? Many of 
the ancients failed to go the whole way when such problems were discussed, 
so what he says is of little significance. 

Yazld's story that the Madinans would not listen to traditions on I.I.'s 
authority does not amount to much because he does not tell us why, and so 
we can resort only to conjecture ; and we have no right to impugn a true 
tradition because of what we think is a defect. We have already explained 
why Yahya al-Qattan would have none of him and called him liar on the 
authority of Wuhayb from Malik, and it is not improbable that he was the 
cause of the Medinans* attitude in the foregoing account.. Ahmad b. 
Hanbal and I. al-Madlni have adequately replied to Hisham's accusation. 

As to Numayr's accusation that he related false hadith on the authority 
of unknown persons, even if his trustworthiness and honesty were not a 
matter of tradition, suspicion would be divided between him and his 
informants ; but as we know that he is trustworthy the charge lies against 
the persons unknown, not against him. Similar attacks have been made 
upon Sufyan al-Thauri and others whose hadith differ greatly in this way 

1 This again ha* nothing to do with the Sira. 



and what they base on unknown informants is to be rejected while that 
coming from known people is accepted. Sufyan b. 'Uyayna gave up Jarlr 
al-Ju'fi after he had heard more than a thousand traditions from him, and 
yet he narrated traditions on his authority. Shu'ba related many traditions 
from him and others who were stigmatized as 'weak'. 

As to Ahmad's complaint that he recorded composite traditions without 
assigning the matter of them to the several contributors, their words 
agreed however many they were ; and even if they did not yet the meaning 
was identical. There is a tradition that Wathila b. al-Asqa' said: 'If I give 
you the meaning of a tradition (not in the precise words that were used) 
that is sufficient for you.' Moreover, Muhammad b. Sirin said that he 
used to hear traditions from ten different people in ten different words with 
the same meaning. Ahmad's complaint that I.I. took other men's writings 
and incorporated them in his own account cannot be regarded as serious 
until it can be proved that he had no licence to repeat them. One must look 
at the method of transmission: if the words do not plainly necessitate an 
oral communication, then the accusation of tadlis 1 lies. But we ought not to 
accept such a charge unless the words plainly imply that. If he expressly 
says that he heard people say something when in fact he did not, that is a 
downright lie and pure invention. It is quite wrong to say such a thing of 
I.I. unless the words leave no other choice. 2 When Ahmad's son quoted 
his father as saying that I.I. was not to be regarded as an authority in 
legal matters though he saw how tolerant he was to non-legal matters which 
make up the greater part of the Maghazi and the prophetic biography, he 
applied this adverse judgement on sunan to other matters. Such an exten- 
sion is excluded by his truthful reputation. 

As to Yahya's saying that he was trustworthy but not authoritative in 
legal matters, it is sufficient for us that he is pronounced trustworthy. 
If only men like al-'Umari and Malik were acceptable there would be 
precious few acceptable authorities! Yahya b. Sa'Id probably blindly 
followed Malik because he heard from him what Hisham had said about 
I.I. His refusal to accept him as an authority in legal matters has already 
been dealt with under Ahmad. Yahya made no distinction between them 
and other traditions in the way of complete acceptance or downright 

Other attacks on his reputation rest on points that are not explained and 
for the most part the agents are unfair. Even in legal matters Abu 'Isa 
al-Tirmidhi and Abu Hatim b. Hibban (d. 354) accepted him as an authority. 

The refutation of his opponents would not have been undertaken were 
it not for the favourable verdict and praise that the learned gave him. 
But for that a few of the charges would have sufficed to undermine his 

1 The meaning of this technical term is clear from the context. W.'s falsche Namen 
unterschieben is not strictly correct. 

2 The discussion of I.I.'s dislike of al-Kalbi's traditions is unimportant and is therefore 
omitted here. 

The Life of Muhammad 

stories, since but a few attacks on a man's good faith, explicit or not, are 
enough to destroy the reputation of one whose former circumstances are 
not known when an impartial critic has not done him justice. 

In his book about trustworthy narrators Abu Hatim said that the two 
men who attacked I.I. were Hisham and Malik. The former denied that 
he had heard traditions from Fatima. But what he said docs not impugn 
men's veracity in hadith, for 'followers' like al-Aswad and 'Alqama heard 
'A'isha's voice without seeing her. Similarly I.I. used to hear Fatima 
when the curtain was let down between them. As for Malik, what he said 
was momentary and afterwards he did him justice. Nobody in the Hijaz 
knew more about genealogies and wars than 1. 1., and he used to say that 
Malik was a freed slave of Dhu Asbah while Malik alleged that he was a 
full member of the tribe so that there was bad feeling between them; and 
when MaJik compiled the Muwaita' I.I. said, 'Bring it to me for I am its 
veterinary surgeon.' Hearing of this Malik said: 'He is an antichrist; he 
reports traditions on the authority of the Jews.' The quarrel lasted until 
LI. decided to go to Iraq. Then they were reconciled and Malik gave him 
50 dinars and half his date crop as a parting gift. Malik did not intend to 
bring him into ill favour as a traditionist : all that he disliked was his 
following the Jews who had become Muslims and learning the story of 
Khaybar and Qurayza and al-Nadlr and similar (otherwise) unattested 
happenings from their fathers. In his Maghdzi I.I. used to learn from 
them but without necessarily asserting that their report was the truth. 
Malik himself only relied on trustworthy truthful men. 

The author ends by remarking that I.I. was not the originator of the 
challenge to Malik's Arab ancestry because al-Zuhri and others had said the 
same thing.' 

The Translation 

I have endeavoured to follow the text as closely as possible without 
sacrificing English idiom. In rendering poetry I have tried to give the sense 
without making any attempt at versifying, the only exceptions being 
doggerel and saj\ In these cases it seemed that it was fair to reproduce 
doggerel by doggerel and to try to put poor rhymes into rhymes that could 
not be worse. Inevitably some exactness is lost, but the general sense and 
tone are more faithfully reproduced in that way. 

The book is very long and I have made a few cuts where no loss can 
result; e.g. I.H.'s recurring formula 'This verse occurs in an ode of his* 
I have excluded because it is obvious that the line, which is generally 
one of his shazcahid, cannot have stood by itself. Again I have shortened 
dialogues in oratio recta into indirect speech in accordance with English 
practice unless the ipsissima verba of the speaker seemed called for naturally, 

' For further discussion and exhaustive references to these and later writers see Fuck, 
ch. 2. 


or are in themselves important. Lastly I have omitted genealogical formulae 
after the first mention of the people concerned. 

My predecessors in translating the Sira have made many mistakes and 
I cannot hope to have escaped all the pitfalls. Of Weil's translation, now 
nearly a century old be it remembered, Noldeke wrote 1 : 'Die t)bersetzung 
von G. Weil, Stuttgart, 1864 ist steif und unbeholfen, and auch philologisch 
nich mehr geniigend. Die grosse Wichtigkeit des Werkes wurde eine 
neue Ubertragung rechtfertigen' ; while Wellhausen's translation of al- 
Waqidl evades the difficulties of the text by silence. The poetry of the 
Sira, as Noldeke said long ago of the poetry on Badr, 'is not easy to trans- 
late because of its many synonyms; the superficial commentary of Abu 
Dharr is no help at all'. 2 

The Text 

I have followed the pagination of the excellent textus receptus of Wiisten- 
feld's edition 1858-60; but the text I have actually used is the Cairo edition 
°f I 35S/ I 937 produced in four parts by MustafS al-Saqqa, Ibr5hlm 
al-Abyari, and 'Abdu'l-Haflz Shalabi which prints at the. bottom of the 
page most of the notes from Abu Dharr and Suhayli that W. relegated to 
the second volume of his altogether admirable edition. For this reason it is 
much easier to use and its fine bold type is kind to one's eyes. When I have 
had occasion to refer to differences between the texts they are marked C. 
and W. 


'Abdu'l-Malik b. Hisham was born in Basra and died at Fustat in Egypt 
in 218 or 213. Krcnkow, however, thinks that he must have died some years 
later. 3 Besides editing the present work he made use of I.I.'s learning in his 
K. al-Tijdn which derives from Wahb b. Munabbih. The principles which 
guided him in his impertinent meddling with his predecessor's work he has 
outlined in his Introduction, and they need not be repeated here. He was 
a philologist of some repute, and he was able to air his knowledge in the 
shatvahid he produces to illustrate the meaning of unusual words. These 
lines, divorced as they are from their context, form some of the most 
difficult of all the difficulties of the Sira and are of course for the most part 
unnecessary now that the Arabs have produced lexicons of their language. 
Occasionally he is helpful with his genealogical notes; more rarely he has 
something useful to say about the interpretation of a line in I.I.'s work. 

Suhayli gives some traditions which I.H. omitted or knew nothing of, 
e.g. W. 183 = Suhayli 183; W. 327 = S. ii. 2 f. He also (ii. 278 = W. 
824) draws attention to a mistake in one of I.H.'s notes saying that the 
fault is either his or al-Bakka i's because Yunus has the right reading. 

' G.Q. 130. > Z.A. xxvii. 161. » /*. Cult. ii. 231. 

xlii The Life of Muhammad 

Probably the fault lay with I.H., for he was in touch with Yunus as he says 
fi ma akhbaranl Yunus on p. 387. 

Another error of his is the statement that I.I. said nothing about the 
mission of 'Amr b. Umayya whom the prophet sent to kill Abu Sufyan 
b. Harb and how he took down the corpse of Khubayb from the cross to 
which he was tied (p. 993). T. records I.I.'s version of this story which is 
far superior to the garbled version of I.H., who is obviously composing a 
story from more than one source, passing clumsily from the first to the 
third person. According to him 'Amr threw the cross (presumably with the 
body on it) into a ravine. The cross (khashaba, a sturdy trunk of a tree 
capable of bearing a man's body) could hardly have been moved by one 
man more than a few yards with guards standing by, and I.I.'s own 
account is much more convincing. 'Amr released the body from the tree, 
carried it some forty paces — a graphic detail — heard the guards coming 
after him, dropped the body with a thud, and made off as fast as he could. 

There is an interesting note in S. ii. 363 which shows that I.H.'s error 
was perceived in early days. He adds that there is a pleasing addition to 
the story in the Musnad of I. Abu Shayba to the effect that when they 
untied him from the cross the earth swallowed him up. One might well 
suppose that I.H.'s story lies midway between the actual facts and this 
incredible fiction. The unfortunate man's body which 'Amr had made a 
gallant but unavailing attempt to retrieve was dumped unceremoniously on 
the ground ; the next step was to give it the semblance of burial in a natural 
hole in the wall of the wadi ; the last step was to provide for proper burial 
by a miracle. 1 

What remains to be explained is why I.H. should assert that I.I. had 
said nothing about the abortive attempt to assassinate Abu Sufyan and the 
equally Unsuccessful effort to recover Khubayb's body. If I.I. said nothing 
at all about either matter, how came it that I.H. dealt with them? Since we 
know that I.I. reported what had happened from traditions that were 
transmitted by 'Amr's own family and that they existed in oral and written 
form for centuries afterwards, we cannot but suspect that I.H. has tampered 
with the evidence. 

Perhaps his greatest service is his critical observations on the authenti- 
city of the poetry of the Sira, not only when he records that all, or some, 
authorities reject certain poems altogether but also when he corrects 1. 1., 
and assigns verses to their true author. 2 SuyutI thought highly of him. 
He reported that Abu Dharr had said that I.H. produced one of the four 
compendia which were better than their sources. 3 

Suhayli 4 states that I.H. wrote a book explaining the difficult words in 

1 However, it is possible that the words ghayyabu lldhu 'anhum imply, though they do not 
demand, a supernatural act. 

2 e.g. 613, where he is right in saying that Hubayra was not the author of one verse but 
Janub; cf. D. d. Hudhailiten, 243. 3 al-Muzhir, Cairo (n.d. recent), p. 87. 

4 i. 5. He is followed by tfajji Khalifa 1012 and I. Khallikan. There is nothing said in 
G.A.L. about this work. 


the poetry of the Sura. Suhayll's words indicate that he had not himself 
seen the book. Were it ever found it might well tell us what I.H.'s generation 
really thought about these poems. 


This fragment consists of twenty extracts complete with their isndds, 
some being the sayings of the prophet on a given occasion, others being 
stories from his life. The collector expressly asserts that the original work 
existed in ten parts, so that the inference that the book once contained a 
complete account of the Sira seems fairly safe. The last item is spurious. 1 
There is an ijdza reaching from Musa (141) to the epitomizer Abu 
Hurayra b. Muhammad b. al-Naqqash (782). 

1. I. Shihab from Salim b. 'Abdullah from 'Abdullah b. 'Umar: I heard 
the apostle say, 'While I was asleep I dreamt that I was going round the 
Ka'ba when lo a man with lank hair between the two men, his head dripping 
with water. When I asked who it was they said 'Isa b. Maryam. Then 
I turned away when lo a red man, heavy, with curly hair, one eyed; it 
seemed as though his eye was a grape swimming (in water). When I asked 
who it was they said The Antichrist. The man most like him is Ibn 
Qatan al-Khuza'i.' 

This tradition is similarly reported in Bukhari ii. 368. 19-369. 4. It 
should be compared with I.I. 269, also from al-Zuhri, where the prophet 
is said to have seen 'Isa during his mi'rdj, with moles or freckles on his 
face appearing like drops of water. The reference here to the 'two men' 
presumably refers to the two thieves on the cross. 

2. Ibn Shihab: The first to hold Friday prayers for the Muslims in 
Medina before the apostle was Mus'ab b. 'Umayr. I. Shihab told us 
another tradition from Suraqa contradicting this. 

The first statement agrees with I.S. HI. i. 83. 25 ; the second apparently 
with I.I. 290. 5 and I.S. III. i. 84. 

3. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Malik b. Ju'shum al-Mudlijl from his father 
Malik from his brother Suraqa b. Ju'shum: When the apostle went out 
from Mecca migrating to Medina Quraysh offered a reward of 100 camels 
to anyone who would bring him back, &c, down to 'my alms to the apostle'. 

This passage is in all essential respects the same as I.I. 331-2, though 
there are many verbal differences. Obviously the version in I.I. has been 
touched up and Musa gives the tradition in its simplest form. Cf. Bukhari 
iii. 39, 41 and Waqidi (Wellh. 374). 

' Sec Sachau, 461 f. 

xliv The Life of Muhammad 

4. L Shihab alleged that 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr said that al-Zubayr met 
the apostle with a caravan of Muslims who were returning to Mecca from 
a trading journey to Syria. They bartered some goods with the apostle 
and al-Zubayr gave him and Abu Bakr some white garments. 

So Bukh. iii. 40. Different names in I.S. m. i. 153. 19. 

5. Nafi' from 'Abdullah b. 'Umar: Some of the apostle's companions 
said to him, 'Are you speaking to dead men ?' He answered, * You cannot 
hear what I say better than they.' 

So Bukh. iii. 70. 17, 18, and cf. pp. 453 U where the words of 
'A'isha are quoted to refute the statement that the dead hear: they know 
but they do not hear. 

6. I. Shihab from Anas b. Malik: Some Ansar asked the apostle's 
permission to remit to their sister's son 'Abbas his ransom, and he replied, 
'No, by Allah, you shall not let him orT a single farthing!' 

So Bukh. iii. 69. 1, 2 and cf. T. 1341, I. Qut. Ma'drif, 77. Sachau in 
finding strange the claim to relationship between 'Abbas and the Ansar 
seems to have forgotten that the grandmother of 'Abbas was Salma d. 
*Amr al-Khazraji. Cf. Bukh. ii. 388. 18 f. for the same claim. 

7. I. Shihab from 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Ka'b b. Malik al-Sulami and other 
traditionists: 'Amir b. Malik b. Ja'far, who was called 'the player with the 
spears', came to the apostle when he was a polytheist and the apostle 
explained Islam to him and he refused to accept it. He gave the apostle 
a present, but he refused it saying that he would not accept a present from 
a polytheist. 'Amir said: 'O apostle, send with me those of your messengers 
you wish and I will be surety for them.' So the apostle sent a number 
among whom were al-Mundhir b. 'Amr al-Sa'idi, of whom it was said 'he 
hastened to his death',' as a spy among the Najd folk. When 'Amir b. 
Tufayl heard about them he tried to call out B. 'Amir against them, but 
they refused to obey him in violating the promise of security given by 
'Amir b. Malik. Then he appealed to B. Sulaym and they joined him and 
killed them in Bi'r Ma una except 'Amr b. Umayya al-Pamri whom 
'Amir b. al-Tufayl captured and afterwards released. When he came to the 
apostle the latter said to him, 'Are you the sole survivor?' 

This is a much briefer account than that given in I.H. 648 f. Cf. T. 
i44 3 f.;Waq. (Well) 337 f- 

8. Isma'il b. Ibrahim b. 'Uqba from Salim b. 'Abdullah from 'Abdullah 
b. 'L'mar: Some men contested the leadership of Usama, and the apostle 
rose and said: 'If you contest the leadership of Usama you used to contest 
the leadership of his father before him. By Allah he was worthy to be 
leader. He was one of the dearest of all men to me, and this man (his son) 

' As I I has al- Mu'niq liyamut I think that Sachau's a'niq litamut, following the MS., 
must be read a'naqa liyamut. Cf. I. al-Athir's Nihdya (quoted by Sachau). 

Introduction xl v 

is one of the dearest of men to me after him; so treat him well when I am 
no more, for he is one of the best of you.' 

Cf. Bukh. ii. 440, iii. 133, 192, and I.H. 999. 14; 1006. 20 f. 

9. Salim b. 'Abdullah from 'Abdullah b. 'Umar: The apostle used not 
to make an exception for Fatima. 

Sachau explains this from Bukh. ii. 441 and iii. 145 where Muhammad 
says that if Fatima were to steal he would cut her hand off. 

10. 'Abdullah b. Fadl from Anas b. Malik: I grieved over my people 
who were killed in the harra. Then Zayd b. Arqam (d. 68) wrote to me 
when he heard of my great grief to say that he had heard the apostle say 
'O God forgive the Ansar and their sons and we implore Thy grace on 
their grandsons'. 

Similarly I.H. 886. 12 and Waq. (W.) 380. 

11. 'Abdullah b. al-Fadl: Some men who were with him (Anas) asked 
him about Zayd b. Arqam and he said, 'It is he of whom the apostle said, 
"This is he on whom Allah has bestowed much through his ear".' 

He had been an informer, cf. I.H. 726. In place of aufalldhu lahu 
bi-udhnihi I.H. 727. 17 has aufd nlilldhi bi-udhnihi. It seems much more 
likely that the variant is due to misreading than to oral tradition. Waq. 
(B.M. MS. 1617, f. 95a) wajat udhnuka . . . wa-saddaqa> lldhu hadithak. 

12. I. Shihab from Sa'id b. al-Musayyib from 'Abdullah b. Ka'b b. 
Malik: The apostle said that day to Bilal, 'Get up and announce that only a 
believer will enter paradise, and that God will not support His religion by 
an evil man.' This happened when the man whom the apostle said was one 
of the inhabitants of hell was mentioned. 

13. From Nafi' b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar: After the conquest of Khaybar 
the Jews asked the apostle to let them stay there on condition that they 
worked the land for half the date crop. He said : 'We will allow you to do so 
on that condition so long as we wish, and they remained there thus until 
'Umar expelled them. [Here six or seven words are missing] saying 'The 
apostle laid down three things in his last disposition, viz. that the Rahawi- 
yun, Dariyun, Saba'Iyun, and Ash'arlyun should have land which pro- 
duced a hundred loads; that the mission of Usama b. Zayd should be 
carried through; and that two different religions should not be allowed to 
remain in the peninsula of the Arabs.' 

Practically the same words are used in I.H. 776 except that the Saba iyun 
are not mentioned. 

14. Isndd as above: 'Umar used not to let Jews, Christians, and Magians 
remain more than three days in Medina to do their business, and he used 
to say 'Two religions cannot subsist together' and he exiled Jews and 
Christians from the peninsula of the Arabs. 

15. I. Shihab from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from Marwan b. al-Hakam and 

xlvi The Life of Muhammad 

al-Miswar b. Makhrama: When the apostle gave men permission to free the 
Hawazin captives he said, 'I do not know who has or has not given you 
permission, so go back until your leaders bring us a report of your affairs.' 
So the men returned and their leaders instructed them and they returned 
to the apostle and told him that the men (Muhammad's companions) had 
treated them kindly and given them permission (to recover their captive 

For the context see I.H. 877. 

16. I. Shihab from Sa'id b. al-Musayyib and 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr: The 
captives of Hawazin whom the apostle returned were 6,000 men, women, 
and children. He gave some women who had fallen to some men of 
Quraysh — among whom were 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf and Safwan b. 
Umayya who had appropriated two women as concubines — the choice 
(of returning or remaining) and they elected to go back to their own people. 

Cf. Waq. (W.) 375. 

17. Isma'Il b. Ibrahim b. 'Uqba from his uncle Musa b. 'Uqba from I. 
Shihab: The apostle made the pilgrimage of completion in a.h. 10. He 
showed the men the rites and addressed them in 'Arafa sitting on his camel 

Cf. I.H. 968 and Waq. 430. 

18. I. Shihab from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from al-Miswar b. Makhrama 
from 'Amr b. 'Auf, an ally of B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy who had been at Badr 
with the apostle: The apostle sent Abu'Ubayda b. al-Jarrah to bring the 
poll tax. He had made peace with the people of al-Bahrayn and set over 
them al-'Ala' b. al-Hadrami. When Abu'Ubayda came from al-Bahrayn 
with the money the Ansar heard of his coming which coincided with the 
apostle's morning prayer. When they saw him they stood in his way. 
Seeing them he smiled and said: 'I think you have heard of the coming of 
Abu 'Ubayda and that he has brought something.' When they agreed he 
added: 'Rejoice and hope for what will gladden you. By Allah it is not 
poverty that I fear on your account. I fear that you will become too 
comfortable and will be led astray like those before you.' 

So Bukh. iii. 68. 18 f. 

19. Sa'd b. Ibrahim from Ibrahim b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf: 'Abdu' 
1-Rahman b. 'Auf was with 'Umar one day and he (the former) broke 
al-Zubayr's sword. But God knows best who broke it. Then Abu Bakr 
got up and addressed the people excusing himself and saying, 'Never for a 
moment was I eager for authority (imdra) nor did I want it or pray to 
God for it secretly or publicly. But I was afraid of disorder. I take no 
pleasure in authority. I have been invested with a grave matter for which 
I have not the strength and can only cope with it if God gives me the 
strength. I would that he who has the most strength for it were in my 
place.* The emigrants accepted his excuse and Ali and al-Zubayr b. 


al-'Awwam said : 'We were angry only because we were not admitted to the 
council and we think that Abu Bakr is the most worthy of supreme 
authority now that the apostle is dead. He was the one with the apostle in 
the cave and we recognize his dignity and seniority; and the apostle put 
him in charge of the prayers while he was still with us.' 

A few comments on this brief anthology will not be out of place here. 
No. 12 clearly deals with the vexed question of the future state of the 
wicked Muslim, while No. 18 is a post eventum prophecy. Inevitably they 
arouse doubt in the mind of the reader. 

From this selection as a whole we can see where the sympathies of the 
collector lay. Thus, al-Zubayr's generosity to Muhammad and Abu 
Bakr are recorded in No. 4. The claims of the Alides to special considera- 
tion are brushed aside in No. 9; while No. 19 states that 'All explicitly 
accepted Abu Bakr as Muhammad's successor. No. 6 shows that al-' Abbas 
had to pay his ransom in full even when the Ansar pleaded for his exemp- 
tion. No. 10 mourns the victims of the Umayyads at al-Harra and records 
that the prophet implored God's blessing on them and their grandchildren. 

Clearly Musa's sympathies lay with the family of al-Zubayr and the 
Ansar. They alone emerge with credit. The Alids, on the other hand, 
are no better than anyone else; the Umayyads are implicitly condemned 
for the slaughter at al-Harra ; and al-' Abbas is shown to have been a rebel 
against the prophet who was forced to pay for his opposition to him to the 
uttermost farthing. 

Miisa b. 'Uqba has said pretty much the same on the subject of the 
Ansar and al-'Abbas as I.I. said before his editor I.H. pruned his work, 
though he took a different view of the Alides. 1 

> V.S. 



» 4080 





Abu Muhammad 'Abdul-Malik ibn Hisham the Grammarian said: 

This is the book of the biography of the apostle of God. 

Muhammad was the son of 'Abdullah, b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib (whose name 
was Shayba), b. Hashim (whose name was 'Amr), b. 'Abdu Manaf (whose 
name was al-Mughlra), b. Qusayy (whose name was Zayd), b. Kilab, b. 
Murra, b. Ka'b, b. Lu'ayy, b. Ghalib, b. Fihr, b. Malik, b. al-Nadr, b. 
Kinana, b. Khuzayma, b. Mudrika (whose name was 'Amir), b. Ilyas, 
b. Mudar, b. Nizar, b. Ma'add, b. 'Adnan, b. Udd (or Udad), b. Muqaw- 
wam, b. Nahur, b. Tayrah, b. Ya'rub, b. Yashjub, b. Nabit, b. Isma'il, 
b. Ibrahim, the friend of the Compassionate, b. Tarih (who is Azar), 
b. Nahur, b. Sarugh, b. Ra'u, b. Falikh, b. 'Aybar, b. Shalikh, b. Arfakh- 
shadh, b. Sam, b. Nuh, b. Lamk, b. Mattushalakh, b. Akhnukh, who is the 
prophet Idrls according to what they allege, 2 but God knows best (he was 
the first of the sons of Adam to whom prophecy and writing with a pen were 
given), b. Yard, b. Mahlil, b. Qaynan, b. Yanish, b. Shith, b. Adam (10).* 


Isma'il b. Ibrahim begat twelve sons: Nabit the eldest, Qaydhar, Adhbul, 
Mabsha, Misma', Mashi, Dimma, Adhr, Tayma, Yatur, Nabish, Qayd- 
huma. Their mother was Ra'la d. Mudad b. 'Amr al-Jurhumi (n). 
Jurhum was the son of Yaqtan b. 'Aybar b. Shalikh, and [Yaqtan was] 3 
Qahtan b. 'Aybar b. Shalikh. According to report Isma'il lived 130 years, 

The formula of blessing which follows every mention of the prophet is omitted here- 
after. Capital B. stands for 'Sons of; b. for 'son of; d. for 'dauKhter of. 

1 The phrase employed indicates that the writer doubts the statement. There is a saying 
in Arabic: 'There is a euphemism for every thing and the polite way of saying "It's a lie" is 
"they allege" (za 'amu)\ 

1 These words are added by C. as the context demands. 

• LH.'s additions to the text arc numbered 10 and onwards. 

4 The Life of Muhammad 

5 and when he died he was buried in the sacred precincts' of the Ka'ba 
beside his mother Hagar (12). 

Muhammad b. Muslim b. 'Ubaydullah b. Shihab al-Zuhri told me 
that 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Abdullah b. Ka'b b. Malik al-Ansan, also called 
al-Sulami, told him that the apostle of God said: 'When you conquer 
Egypt treat its people well, for they can claim our protection and kinship.' 
I asked al-Zuhri what the apostle meant by making them our kin and he 
replied that Hagar, the mother of Isma il, was of their stock (13). 

«Ad b. 'Aus b. I ram b. Sam b. Nuh and Thamud and Jadis the two sons 
of 'Abir b. Iram b. Sam b. Nuh, and Tasm and 'Imlaq and Umaym the sons 
of Lawidh b. Sim b. Nuh are all Arabs. Nabit b. Isma'il begat Yashjub 
and the line runs: Ya'rub-Tayrah-Nahur-Muqawwam-Udad-'AdnSn (14). 
From 'Adnan the tribes descended from Isma'il split off. 'Adnan had 

7 two sons, Ma'add and 'Akk (14). Ma'add had four sons: Nizar, Quda'a 
(he being his first born he was called Abu Quda'a), Qunus, and Iyad. 
Quda'a went to the Yaman to Himyar b. Saba whose name was 'Abdu 
Shams ; the reason why he was called Saba* was that he was the first among 
the Arabs to take captives. He was the son of Yashjub b. Ya'rub b. 
Qahfan (15). Of Qunus b. Ma'add according to the genealogists of 
Ma'add, none has survived. Al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir king of al-Iiira 
belonged to their tribe. Al-Zuhri told me that this Nu'man belonged to the 
Qunus b. Ma'add (16). 

Ya'qub b. 'Utba b. al-Mughira b. al-Akhnas told me that a shaykh of the 
Ansar of B. Zurayq told him that 'Umar b. al-Khattab, when he was given 
the' sword of al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir, sent for Jubayr b. Mat'im b. 
'Adiy b. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf b. Qusayy (he being the best genealogist 
of the Qunaysh and indeed of all the Arabs and claimed to have been 
taught by Abu Bakr who was the greatest genealogist of the Arabs) and 
girded it on him. When he asked who al-Nu'man was, Jubayr replied that 
he was a survivor of the tribe of Qunus b. Ma'add. However, the rest of the 
Arabs assert that he belonged to the Lakhm of the Rabi'a b. Nasr. Only 
God knows the truth (17). 

OF RABI'A b. nasr king of the yaman and the 


Rabi'a b. Nasr, king of the Yaman, was of the true stock of the Tubba' 
kings. He had a vision which terrified him and continued to cause him 
much anxiety. So he summoned every soothsayer, sorcerer, omenmonger, 
and astrologer in his kingdom and said: *I have had a vision which terrifies 
me and is a source of anxiety. Tell me what it was and what it means.* 
They replied: Tell us the vision and we will tell you its meaning.' 'If 
I tell you it,' said he, * I can have no confidence in your interpretation; for 

1 The fujr is the semicircular space between the fiatlm (wall) and the Ka'ba. 

The Life of Muhammad 5 

the only man who knows its meaning is he who knows about the vision 
without my telling him.' Thereupon one of them recommended him to 
send for Shiqq and Satih, for they knew more than others and would be 
able to answer his questions. Satih's name was Rabi' b. Rabi'a b. Mas'ud b. 
Mazin, b. Drub b. 'Adiy b. Mazin Ghassan. Shiqq was the son of Sa'b, 
b. Yashkur b. Ruhm b. Afrak, b. Qasr b. 'Abqar b. Anmar b. Nizar, and 
Anmar was the father of Bajila and Khath 'am (18). 

So he sent for them and Satih arrived first. The king then repeated his 
words, ending, *If you know the vision you will know what it means.' 
Satih replied [in saj']: 

A fire you did see 
Come forth from the sea. 
It fell on the low country 
And devoured all that be. 

The king agreed that this was exactly what he had seen, and what was 
the meaning of it all? He answered: 

By the serpent of the lava plains I swear 
The Ethiopians on your land shall bear 
Ruling from Abyan to Jurash everywhere. 
The king exclaimed that this was distressing news, but when would these 
things come to pass— in his time or after him? He replied: [again in 
rhyme] that more than sixty or seventy years must first pass. Would the 
new-comers' kingdom last? No, an end would be put to it after seventy 
years or more; then they would be slain or driven out as fugitives. Who 
would do this? Iram b. Dhu Yazan, who would come against them from 
Aden and not leave one of them in the Yemen. Further questions drew 
the information that their kingdom would not last, but a pure prophet to 
whom revelation came from on high would bring it to an end ; he would be 
a man of the sons of Ghalib b. Fihr b. Malik, b. al-Nadr. His dominion 
would last to the end of time. Has time an end? asked the king. Yes, 
replied Satih, the day on which the first and the last shall be assembled, 
the righteous for happiness, the evildoers for misery. Arc you telling me 
the truth? the king asked. 

Yes, by the dark and the twilight 
And the dawn that follows the night 
Verily what I have told you is right. 
Later Shiqq arrived and the king acquainted him with the facts but 
did not tell him what Satih had said, so that he might sec whether they 
agreed or differed. His words were: 

A fire you did see 
Come forth from the sea. 
It fell between rock and tree 
Devouring all that did breathe. 

1 1 

6 The Life of Muhammad 

Perceiving that they agreed one with the other and that the difference 
was a mere choice of words, the king asked Shiqq for his interpretation : 

By the men of the plains I swear 
The blacks on your land shall bear 
Pluck your little ones from your care 
Ruling from Abyan to Najran everywhere. 

The king put the same questions to him and learned that after his time: 

There shall deliver you from them one mighty, great of name 
And put them to the utmost shame. 

He would be: 

A young man neither remiss nor base 

Coming forth from Dhu Yazan's house, his place, 

Not one of them shall leave on Yaman's face. 

He continued in answer to the questions already put to his predecessor: 
His kingdom shall be ended by an apostle who will bring truth and justice 
among men of religion and virtue. Dominion will rest among his people 
until the Day of Separation, the day on which those near God will be 
rewarded, on which demands from heaven will be made which the quick 
and dead will hear, men will be gathered at the appointed place, the God- 
fearing to receive salvation and blessing. By the Lord of heaven and earth, 
and what lies between them high or low I have told you but the truth in 
which no doubt (amd) lies (19). 

What these two men said made a deep impression on Rabi'a b. Nasr and 
he dispatched his sons and family to Iraq with all that they might need, 
giving them a letter to the Persian king Sabur b. Khurrazadh who let them 
settle in al-Hlra. 

Al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir was a descendant of this king ; in the genealo- 
gies and traditions of the Yaman in his line is: al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir b. 
al-Nu'man b. Mundhir b. 'Amr b. 'Adiy b. Rabi'a b. Nasr (20). 



When Rabi'a b. Nasr died the whole kingdom of the Yaman fell into the 
hands of Hassan b. Tiban As'ad Abu Karib. (Tiban As'ad was the last 
Tubba, the son of Kuli Karib b. Zayd, Zayd being the first Tubba' son 
of 'Amr Dhu-l-Adh *ar b. Abraha Dhu-l-Manar b. al-Rish (21) b. 'Adiy b. 
Sayfi b. Saba' al-Asghar b. Ka'b— Kahf al-Zulm— b. Zayd b. Sahl b. 'Amr 
b. Qays b. Mu'awiya b. Jusham b. 'Abdu Shams b. Wa'il b. al-Ghauth b. 
Qatan b. 'Arib b. Zuhayr b. Ayman b. al-Hamaisa' b. al-'Aranjaj, the 
latter is Himyar b. Saba'al-Akbar b. Ya'rub b. Yashjub b. Qahjan (22).) 


It was Tiban As'ad Abu Karib who went to Medina and took away to the 
Yaman two Jewish rabbis from thence. He adorned 1 the sacred temple and 
covered it with cloth. His reign was before that of Rabi'a b. Nasr (23). 13 

When he came from the east he had passed by Medina without harming 
its people; but he left behind there one of his sons who was treacherously 
slain. Thereupon he returned with the intention of destroying the 
town and exterminating its people and cutting down its palms So this 
tribe of the Ans2r gathered together under the leadership of Amr b. 
Talla the brother of B. al-Najjar and one of B. 'Amr b. Mabdhul. Mab- 
dhul's name was 'Amir b. Malik b. al-Najjar; and al-Najjar's name was 
Taym Allah b. Tha'laba b. 'Amr b. al-Khazraj b. Haritha b. Tha laba b. 

*Amr b. 'Amir (24). 

Now a man of B. 'Adiy b. al-Najjar called Ahmar had fallen upon one 
of the followers of Tubba' when he brought them to Medina and killed 
him 2 because he caught him among his palms cutting the date clusters ; 
he struck him with his sickle and killed him, saying 'The fruit belongs to 
the man who cultivates it.' This enraged the Tubba' against them and 
fighting broke out. Indeed the Ansar assert that they used to fight them by 
day and treat them as guests by night. Tubba' was amazed at this and used 
to say: 'By God our people arc generous!' 

While Tubba' was occupied in this fighting there came two Jewish 
rabbis from B. Qurayza— Qurayza, and al-Nadir and al-Najjam and 'Amr 
nicknamed Hanging-lip were sons of al-Khazraj b. al-Sarih b. al-Tau aman 
b al-Sibt b. al-Yasa' b. Sa'd b. Law! b. Khayr b. al-Najjam b. Tanhum b. 
'Azar b. 'Izra b. Harun b. 'Imran b. Yashar b. Qahat 3 b. Law! b. Ya'qub 
otherwise called Isra'il b. ishaq b. Ibrahim the friend of al-Rahman- 
learned men well grounded in tradition. They had heard about the king s 
intention to destroy the town and its people and they said to him: O 
King do not do it, for if you persist in your intention something will 
happen to prevent your carrying it out and we fear that you will incur 
speedy retribution.' When the king asked the reason for this they to d 
him that Yathrib was the place to which a prophet of the Quraysh would 
migrate in time to come, and it would be his home and resting-place. 14 
Seeing that these men had hidden knowledge the king took their words in 
good part and gave up his design, departed from Medina and embraced 

the rabbis' religion. 4 **i 1 

Khalid b. *Abd al-'Uzza b. Ghazlya b. 'Amr b. Auf b. Ghunm b. 
Malik b. al-Najjar boasting of 'Amr b. Tz\h said: 

Has he given up youthful folly or ceased to remember it? 
Or has he had his fill of pleasure? 

' 'ammara perhaps means 'restored'. Tab. omits this sentence. 
P T«b. adds: 'and threw him into a well called Dhat Tuman'. 

4 Tab^ra^c^adc this story through Ibn Isbaq-Yazid b. *Amr-Aban b. Abu 'Ayyash- 
Anas b. Malik to certain shaykhs of Medina who lived in pre- Islamic times. 


The Life of Muhammad 

Or have you remembered youth? 

And what a memory of youth and its times you have! 

It was a young man's war 

Such as gives him experience. 

So ask 'Imran or Asad, 

When headlong 1 with the morning star came 

Abu Karib with his great squadrons 

Clad in long mail, of pungent smell. 

They said, Whom shall we make for, 

The Banu Auf or the Najjar? 

Surely the Banu-l-Najjar, 

For we seek revenge for our dead. 

Then our swordsmen 2 went to meet them, 

Their number as the drops of widely falling rain, 

Among them 'Amr b. Talla 

(God prolong his life for the welfare of his people). 
A chief who is on a level with kings but whoso 
Would vie with him does not know his eminence. 

This tribe of the Ansar claim that the Tubba' was enraged only against 
this tribe of the Jews who were living among them and that it was only 
his intention to destroy them, but they protected them until he went his 
way. Therefore in his verse he said: 

In rage against two Jewish tribes who live in Yathrib 
Who richly deserve the punishment of a fateful day (25). 3 

Now the Tubba' and his people were idolaters. He set out for Mecca 
which was on his way to the Yaman, and when he was between 'Usfan and 
15 Amaj 4 some men of the Hudhayl b. Mudrika b. Ilyas b. Mudar b. Nizar b. 
Ma'add came to him saying, 'O King, may we not lead you to an ancient 
treasury which former kings have overlooked ? It contains pearls, topaz, 
rubies, gold, and silver.' Certainly, said he, and they added that it was a 
temple in Mecca which its people worshipped and where they prayed. But 
the real intention of the Hudhaylis was to encompass his destruction, for 
they knew that any king that treated it with disrespect was sure to die. 
Having agreed to their proposal he sent to the two rabbis and asked their 
opinion. They told him that the sole object of the tribe was to destroy 
him and his army. 'We know of no other temple in the land which God 
has chosen for Himself, said they, and if you do what they suggest you and 
all your men will perish.' The king asked them what he should do when 
he got there, and they told him to do what the people of Mecca did : to 

1 Variant ghadwan 'at early dawn*. 2 Reading musayifatun. 

3 W.'a text is preceded by another verse. Tab. has preserved the full text which I have 
inserted at the end of this section in the context assigned to it by Tab. 

4 Authorities differ as to the site of the 'Usfan. Amaj is the name of a town within reach 
of -Medina and also of a wadi running from the tfarra of the Banu Sulaym to the sea. 

The Life of Muhammad 9 

circumambulate the temple, to venerate and honour it, to shave his head, 
and to behave with all humility until he had left its precincts. 

The king asked why they too should not do likewise. They replied that 
it was indeed the temple of their father Abraham, but the idols which the 
inhabitants had set up round it, and the blood which they shed there, 
presented an insuperable obstacle. They are unclean polytheists, said they 
— or words to that effect. 

Recognizing the soundness and truth of their words the king summoned 
the men from the Hudhayl and cut off their hands and feet, and continued 
his journey to Mecca. He went round the Ka'ba, sacrificed, and shaved 
his head, staying there six days (so they say) sacrificing animals which he 
distributed to the people and giving them honey to drink. 

It was revealed to him in a dream that he should cover the temple, so 
he covered it with woven palm branches ; a later vision showed him that he 
must do better so he covered it with YamanI cloth ; a third vision induced 
him to clothe it with fine striped Yaman cloth. People say that the Tubba' 
was the first man to cover the temple in this way. He ordered its JurhumI 
guardians to keep it clean and not to allow blood, dead bodies, or men- 
struous cloths to come near it, and he made a door and a key for it. 

Subay'a d. al-Ahabb b. Zablna b. Jadhlma b. 'Auf b. Nasr b. Mu'awiya 
b. Bakr b. Hawazin b. Mansur b. 'Ikrima b. Khasafa b. Qays b. 'Aylan 
was the wife of 'Abdu Manaf b. Ka'b b. Sa'd b. Taym b. Murra b. Ka'b 
b. Lu'ay b. Ghalib b. Fihr b. Malik b. Nadr b. Kinana. She had by him 
a son called Khalid ; and in impressing on him the sanctity of Mecca and 
forbidding him to commit grievous sin there, she reminded him of Tubba' 
and his humility towards it and his work there, in the following lines: 

0 my son, oppress neither the mean nor the great in Mecca. 
Preserve its sanctity and be not led away. 1 

He who does evil in Mecca will meet the worst misfortune. 
His face will be smitten and his cheeks will burn with fire. 

1 know from certain knowledge that the evildoer there will perish. 
God has made it inviolate though no castles are built in its court. 
God has made its birds inviolate and the wild goats on Thablr 2 are safe. 
Tubba' came against it, but covered its building with embroidered 


God humbled his sovereignty there so he fulfilled his vows, 

Walking barefoot to it with two thousand camels in its courtyard. 

Its people he fed with the flesh of Mahrl camels. 

Gave them to drink strained honey and pure barley-water. 

(God) destroyed the army of the elephant, 

They were pelted with great stones, 3 

1 A reminiscence of Sura 31.33 and 35.5. 

2 A mountain above Mecca. 'Usm could mean 'wild birds'. 

* Either the poem has suffered interpolation or it is the product of a later age because the 
•tory of the Elephant belongs to the expedition of Abraham the Abyssinian mentioned on 

I0 The Life of Muhammad 

And (God destroyed) their kingdom in the farthest lands 

Both in Persia and Khazar. 

Hearken therefore when you are told the story 

And understand the end of such things (26). 

17 Afterwards he set forth for the Yaman with his army and the two rabbis, 
and when he reached his own country he invited his people to adopt his 
new religion, but they refused until the matter could be tested by the 
ordeal of fire which was there. 

Abu Malik b. Tha'laba b. Abu Malik al-QurazI told me that he heard 
Ibrahim b. Muhammad b. Talha b. 'Ubaydallah narrate that when Tubba* 
drew near to the Yaman the Himyarites blocked his path, refusing to 
let him pass because he had abandoned their religion. When he invited 
them to accept his religion on the ground that it was better than theirs, 
they proposed that the matter should be subject to the ordeal by fire. 
The Yamanites say that a fire used to settle matters in dispute among them 
by consuming the guilty and letting the innocent go scatheless. 1 So his 
people went forth with their idols and sacred objects, and the two rabbis 
went forth with their sacred books 2 hanging like necklaces from their 
necks until they halted at the place whence the fire used to blaze out. On 
this occasion when it came out the Yamanites withdrew in terror, but their 
followers encouraged them and urged them to stand fast, so they held their 
ground until the fire covered them and consumed their idols and sacred 
objects and the men who bore them. But the two rabbis came out with 
their sacred books, sweating profusely but otherwise unharmed. There- 
upon the Himyarites accepted the king's religion, Such was the origin of 
Judaism in the Yaman. 

Another informant told me that the two parties only went up to the 
fire to drive it back, for it was held that the one who succeeded in driving 
it back was most worthy of credence. When the Himyarites with their 
idols came near to drive the fire back, the fire came out against them and they 
withdrew unable to withstand it. Afterwards, when the two rabbis came 
reciting the Torah, the fire receded so that they drove it back to the place 
from which it had emerged. Thereupon the Himyarites accepted their 
religion. But God knows which report is correct. 

18 Now Ri'am was one of the temples which they venerated and where 
they offered sacrifices and received oracles when they were polytheists. 
The two rabbis told Tubba' that it was merely a shaytan which deceived 
them in this way and they asked to be allowed to deal with it. W 7 hen the 
king agreed they commanded a black dog to come out of it and killed it — 

pp. 29 f. W.'s reading 'They shot great stones into it' probably refers to the siege when 
al-Hajjaj bombarded Mecca. The contrast between his violence and the humility of Tubba' 
is hinted at in the last line. 

1 For an account of a modern ordeal of a similar though simpler character among the 
Arabs of Sinai see Austin Kcnnett, bedouin Justice, Cambridge, 1925, pp. 107-14. 

2 Perhaps •phylacteries' are meant. 

The Life of Muhammad 


at least this is what the Yamanites say. Then they destroyed the temple and 
I am told that its ruins to this day show traces of the blood that was poured 
over it. 

(T. Tubba* composed the following lines about his expedition, what he T- 906 
had intended to do with Medina and the Ka'ba, what he actually did to the 
men of Hudhayl, and how he adorned and purified the temple and what 
the two rabbis told him about the apostle of God : 

Why, O soul, is thy sleep disturbed like one whose eyes pain him ? 

Why dost thou suffer from perpetual insomnia, 

Enraged against two Jewish tribes who live in Yathrib, 

Who richly deserve the punishment of a fateful day ? 

When I sojourned in Medina 

Calm and refreshing was my sleep. 

I made my dwelling on a hill 

Between al-'Aqiq and Baqi' ul-Gharqad. 

We left its rocks and plateau 

And its bare salty plain 

And came down to Yathrib, and my breast 

Seethed with anger at the killing of my son. 

I had sworn a steadfast VOW, 

An oath full strong and binding, 

'If I reach Yathrib I will leave it 

Stripped of palms both striplings and fruitful' 

When lo from Qurayza came 

A rabbi wise, among the Jews respected. 

'Stand back from a city preserved;' said he, 

'For Mecca's prophet of Quraysh true-guided.' 

So I forgave them without reproach 

I left them to the judgement of the last day 

To God whose pardon I hope for 

On the day of reckoning that I escape the flames of hell. 

Some of our people I left there for him, 

Men of reputation and valour, 

Men who carry plans to victory's end. 

I hope thereby for a reward from Muhammad's Lord. 

I knew not that there was a pure temple 

Devoted to God in Mecca's vale, 

Till slaves from Hudhayl came to me 

In al-DufT of Jumdan above al-Masnad. 

'A house of ancient wealth in Mecca 

Treasures of pearls and jewels!' they said. 

I wanted to seize them but my Lord said nay. 

For God prevents destruction of his sanctuary. 

I gave up my purpose there 

The Life of Muhammad 

And left those men an example to the discerning. 
Dhu'l-Qarnayn before me was a Muslim 
Conquered kings thronged his court, 
East and west he ruled, yet he sought 
Knowledge true from a learned sage. 
He saw where the sun sinks from view 
In a pool of mud and fetid slime. 
Before him Bilqis my father's sister 
Ruled them until the hoopoe came to her.) 1 


When his son Hassan b. Tiban As'ad Abu Karib came to the throne he 
set out with the Yamanites to subdue the land of the Arabs and Persians. 
However, when they reached a place in Iraq (27) the Himyante and 
Yamanite tribes were unwilling to go farther and wanted to return to their 
families, so they approached one of his brothers called 'Amr who was with 
him in the army and said that if he would kill his brother they would 
make him king so that he might lead them home again. He said that he 
would do so, and they all agreed to join in the plot except Dhu Ru ayn the 
Himyarite. He forbade him to do this, but he would not heed, so Dhu 
Ru'ayn wrote the following verses: 

Oh who would buy sleeplessness for sleep? 
Happy is he who passes the night in peace; 
Though Himyar have been treacherous, 
God will hold Dhu Ru'ayn blameless. 

He sealed the document and brought it to 'Amr, saying: 'Keep this with 
you for me,' and he did so. Then 'Amr killed his brother Hassan and 
returned to the Yaman with his men. 2 One of the Himyarites was moved 
to say: 

In former generations 

What eyes have seen 

The like of Hassan who has been slain! 

The princes slew him lest they should be kept at war. 

On the morrow they said 'It is naught!' 

Your dead was the best of us and your living one 

Is lord over us while all of you are lords. 

■ The poem i. spurious; it is not difficult to see how I. Isbaq W^^^ * 
incorporate such an obvious forgery in a serious historical work At ^his P™ 1 J^™- 
duces a long passage from I. I. A much longer story via 'Uthman b. Sij is given by Azr. i. 79- 
2 T. 915. Hawaii vainly appeals to his brother thus: 

Do not hasten my death, O 'Amr. 
Take the kingdom without using force. 

The Life of Muhammad 13 

The words 'lababi lababi' mean 'no matter' in the Himyarl language (28). 

When Amr b. Tiban returned to the Yaman he could not sleep and >9 
insomnia took a firm hold of him. Being much concerned at this, he asked 
the physicians and those of the soothsayers and diviners who were seers 
about his trouble. One of them said : 'No man has ever killed his brother or 
kinsman treacherously as you killed your brother without losing his sleep 
and becoming a prey to insomnia.' At this he began to kill all the nobles 
who had urged him to murder his brother Hassan, till finally he came to 
Dhu Ru'ayn who claimed that 'Amr held the proof of his innocence, 
namely the paper which he had given him. He had it brought to him and 
when he had read the two verses he let him go, recognizing that he had 
given him good counsel. 1 When 'Amr died the Himyarite kingdom fell 
into disorder and the people split up into parties. 

HOW LAKHNl'A dhO shanAtir seized the throne of 


A tfimyari who had no connexion with the royal house called Lakhnl'a 
Yanuf Dhu Shanatir 2 arose and killed off their leading men and put the 
royal family to open shame. Of this man a certain Himyari recited: 

Jiimyar was slaying its sons and exiling its princes, 

Working its shame with its own hands, 

Destroying its worldly prosperity with frivolous thoughts. 

Even greater was the loss of their religion. 

So did earlier generations bring their doom 

By acts of injustice and profligacy. 

Lakhnl'a was a most evil man— a sodomite. He used to summon a 
young man of the royal family and assault him in a room which he had 
constructed for this very purpose, so that he could not reign after him. 
Then he used to go from this upper chamber of his to his guards and 
soldiers, (who were below) having put a toothpick in his mouth to let them 
know that he had accomplished his purpose. (T. Then he would release 
him and he would appear before the guards and the people utterly dis- 
graced.) One day he sent for Zur'a Dhu Nuwas son of Tiban As'ad 
brother of Hassan. He was a little boy when Hassan was murdered and had 
become a fine handsome young man of character and intelligence. When 
the messenger came he perceived what was intended and took a fine sharp 
knife and hid it under the sole of his foot and went to Lakhnl'a. As soon 
as they were alone he attacked him and Dhu Nuwas rushed upon him and 
stabbed him to death. He then cut off his head and put it in the window 

1 Tab. 916 f. contains > long poem ascribed to 'Amr. 

* N6ld., Geich. d. Perser u. Araber, 173. notei that the name Lakhi atha occurs in inscrip- 
tion, and that shanatir means 'fingers'. 

14 The Life of Muhammad 

which overlooked the men below. He stuck the toothpick in his mouth 
and went out to the guards, who in coarse language inquired what had 
happened. 1 'Ask that head,' he replied. They looked at the window and 
there was Lakhni'a's head cut off. So they went in pursuit of Dhu Nuwas 
and said: 'You must be our king and no one else, seeing that you have rid 
us of this disgusting fellow.' (29). 


They made him king and all the tribes of Himyar joined him. He was the 
last of the YamanI kings and the man who had the ditch made. 2 He was 
called Joseph and reigned for some considerable time. 

In Najran there were some people 3 who held the religion of 'Isa b. 
Maryam, a virtuous and upright people who followed the Gospel. Their 
head was named 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir. The place where that religion 
took root was in Najran, at that time the centre of the Arabs' country; its 
people, and indeed the rest of the Arabs, were idolaters. A Christian by 
the name of Faymiyun had settled there and converted the people to his 


Al-Mughira b. Abu Labid, a freedman of al-Akhnas, on the authority of 
Wahb b. Munabbih the Yamani told me that the origin of Christianity in 
Najran was due to a man named Faymiyun who was a righteous, earnest, 
ascetic man whose prayers were answered. He used to wander between 
towns: as soon as he became known in one town he moved to another, 
eating only what he earned, for he was a builder by trade using mud bricks. 
He used to keep Sunday as a day of rest and would do no work then. He 
used to go into a desert place and pray there until the evening. While he 
was following his trade in a Syrian village withdrawing himself from men, 
one of the people there called Salih perceived what manner of man he 
was and felt a violent affection for him, so that unperceived by Faymiyun 
he used to follow him from place to place, until one Sunday he went as 
his wont was out into the desert followed by Salih. Salih chose a hiding- 
place and sat down where he could see him, not wanting him to know where 
he was. As Faymiyun stood to pray a tinnln, a seven-homed snake, came 

1 The Arabic text is in some disorder here, but the citation from al-Aghdni given in the 
Cairo edition makes it possible to restore the true reading. A literal translation has been 

avoided for obvious reasons. 

* See below, p. 17. In place of the mention of the ditch r \. has: 'he adopted Judaism 
and Himvar followed him". T.'s version of this story is slightly more detailed and one may 
suspect that I.H. has omitted phrases here and there. Prof. G. Ryckmans in 195a dis- 
covered an inscription at Qara. His name is written Ysf Var. The Sabaean date =A.D. 518. 

1 Lit. 'remnants of the people of 'Isa's religion.' Nold. takes this to mean upholders of 
an uncorrupted Christianity; but this is not necessarily the meaning. 

The Life of Muhammad 1 5 

towards him and when Faymiyun saw it he cursed it and it died. Seeing 
the snake but not knowing what had happened to it and fearing for 
Faymiyun's safety, Salih could not contain himself and cried out: 'Faymi- 
yun, a tinnin is upon you!' He took no notice and went on with his prayers 
until he had ended them. Night had come and he departed. He knew 
that he had been recognized and Salih knew that he had seen him. So he 
said to him: 'Faymiyun, you know that I have never loved anything as 
I love you ; I want to be always with you and go wherever you go.' He 
replied: 'As you will. You know how I live and if you feel that you can 
bear the life well and good.' So Salih remained with him, and the people 
of the village were on the point of discovering his secret. For when a man 
suffering from a disease came in his way by chance he prayed for him and he 
was cured ; but if he was summoned to a sick man he would not go. Now 
one of the villagers had a son who was blind 1 and he asked about Faymiyun 
and was told that he never came when he was sent for, but that he was a 
man who built houses for people for a wage. Thereupon the man took his 
son and put him in his room and threw a garment over him and went to 
Faymiyun saying that he wanted him to do some work for him in his house 
and would he come and look at it, and they would agree on a price. 
Arrived at the house Faymiyun asked what he wanted done, and after 
giving details the man suddenly whisked off the covering from the boy 
and said: 'O Faymiyun, one of God's creatures is in the state you see. 
So pray for him.' Faymiyun did so* and the boy got up entirely healed. 
Knowing that he had been recognized he left the village followed by 
Salih, and while they were walking through Syria they passed by a great 
tree and a man called from it saying, 'I've been expecting you and saying, 
"When is he coming?" until I heard your voice and knew it was you. 
Don't go until you have prayed over my grave for I am about to die.' He 
did die and he prayed over him until they buried him. Then he left 
followed by Salih until they reached the land of the Arabs who attacked 
them, and a caravan carried them off and sold them in Najran. At this time 
the people of Najran followed the religion of the Arabs worshipping a great 
palm-tree there. Every year they had a festival when they hung on the 
tree any fine garment they could find and women's jewels. Then they 
sallied out and devoted the day to it. 3 Faymiyun was sold to one noble and 
Salih to another. Now it happened that when Faymiyun was praying 
earnestly at night in a house which his master had assigned to him the 
whole house was filled with light so that it shone as it were without a lamp. 
His master was amazed at the sight, and asked him about his religion. 
Faymiyun told him and said that they were in error; as for the palm-tree 
it could neither help nor hurt ; and if he were to curse the tree in the name 

2 Rives the words of Faymiyun's prayer: 'O God, thy enemy has attacked the health of 
one of thy servants to ruin it. Restore him to health and protect him from him.' 
* Or, perhaps, 'processed round it*. 


of God, He would destroy it, for He was God Alone without companion. 
'Then do so,' said his master, 'for if you do that we shall embrace your 
religion, and abandon our present faith.' After purifying himself and 
performing two rak'as, he invoked God against the tree and God sent a 
wind against it which tore it from its roots and cast it on the ground. Then 
the people of Najran adopted his religion and he instructed them in the 
law of 'Isa b. Maryam. Afterwards they suffered the misfortunes' which 
befell their co-religionists in every land. This was the origin of Christianity 
in Najran in the land of the Arabs. Such is the report of Wahb b. Munab- 
bih on the authority of the people of Najran. 


Yazid b. Ziyad told me on the authority of Muhammad b. Ka'b al-Qurazi, 
and a man of Najran also told me, that according to his people they used to 
worship idols. Najran is the largest town in which the people of the neigh- 
bouring district congregated, and in a village hard by there was a sorcerer 
who used to instruct the young men of Najran in his art. When Faymiyun 
came there— they did not call him by the name that Wahb b. Munabbih 
gives him but simply said a man came there— he put up a tent between 
Najran and the place where the sorcerer was. Now the people of Najran 
used to send their young men to that sorcerer to be taught sorcery and 
al-Thamir sent his son 'Abdullah along with them. When he passed by the 
man in the tent he was immensely struck by his prayers and devotion and 
began to sit with him and listen to him until he became a Muslim 2 and 
acknowledged the unity of God and worshipped Him. He asked questions 
about the laws of Islam until when he became fully instructed therein he 
asked the man what was the Great Name of God. Although he knew it he 
kept it from him, saying: *My dear young man, 3 you will not be able to 
bear it ; I fear that you are not strong enough.! Now al-Thamir had no 
idea that his son 'Abdullah was not visiting the sorcerer along with the 
other young men. 'Abdullah seeing that his master had kept the knowledge 
from him and was afraid of his weakness, collected a number of sticks and 
whenever he taught him a name of God he wrote that name on a stick. 
When he had got them all he lit a fire and began to throw them in one by one 
until when he reached the stick with the Great Name inscribed on it he 
threw it in, and it immediately sprang out untouched by the fire. There- 
upon he took it and went and told his master that he knew the Great 
Name which he had concealed from him. The latter questioned him 
and when he learned how he had found out the secret he said, 4 0 my young 

1 Or 'innovations' (ahddth), so Nold., op. cit., 18a, f.i. 

2 The Quran teaches that pure Christianity was Islam, cf. Sura 3. 45 el passim. 
1 Lit. 'Son of my brother'. 

The Life of Muhammad 17 

friend, 1 you have got it, but keep it to yourself, though I do not think you 
will.' 24 

Thereafter whenever 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir entered Najran and met 
any sick person he would say to him, 'O servant of God, will you acknow- 
ledge the unity of God and adopt my religion so that I may pray to God 
that he may heal you of your affliction ?' The man would agree, acknowledge 
the unity of God, and become a Muslim, and he would pray for him and he 
would be healed, until in the end there was not a single sick person in 
Najran but had adopted his religion and become whole from his sickness. 
When the news reached the king he sent for him and said: 'You have 
corrupted the people of my town so that they are against me and have 
opposed my religion and the religion of my fathers. I will make a terrible 
example of you!' He replied: 'You have not the power to do that.* The 
king had him taken to a high mountain and thrown down headlong, but he 
reached the ground unhurt. Then he had him thrown into deep water in 
Najran from which no one had ever emerged alive, but he came out safely. 

Having thus got the better of him 'Abdullah told him that he would not 
be able to kill him until he acknowledged the unity of God and believed 
in his religion; but that if he did that he would be given power to kill him. 
The king then acknowledged the unity of God and pronounced the creed 
of 'Abdullah, and hitting him a moderate blow with a stick which he had in 
his hand he killed him and died himself on the spot. The people of Najran 
accepted the religion of 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir according to the Gospel 
and the law which 'Isa b. Maryam brought. Afterwards they were over- 
taken by the misfortunes 2 which befell their co-religionists. Such is the 
origin of Christianity in Najran. But God knows best (what the facts are). 

Such is the report of Muhammad b. Ka' b. al-Qurazi and one of the 
men of Najran about 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir, but God knows best what 

Dhu Nuwas came against them with his armies and invited them to 
accept Judaism, giving them the choice between that or death: they chose 
death. So he dug trenches for them ; burnt some in fire, slew some with 
the sword, and mutilated them until he had killed nearly twenty thousand 
of them. 3 Concerning Dhu Nuwas and that army of his God revealed to 
his apostle 

On the trenchmakers be eternal ire 
For their fuel-fed fire 
Watching as the flames grew higher 
The sufferings of the faithful, dire! 
They only tormented them because they believed in 
God the Mighty, the Worthy to be Praised (30). 4 

1 Lit. 'Son of my brother'. 25 
1 ahddth, v.s. 

s T- 'Then Dhu Nuwas returned to San'a with his troops.' 
♦ Sura 8 S . 4- 
B 4080 C 

,8 The Life of Muhammad 

It is said that among those put to death by Dhu Nuwas was 'Abdullah b. 
al-Thamir, their leader and imam. 1 

I was told by 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm 
that he was told that in the days of 'Umar b. al-Khattab a man of Najran 
dug up one of the ruins of Najran intending to make use of the land, when 
they came upon 'Abdullah b. al-Thamir under a grave; he was in a sitting 
posture with his hand covering a wound in his head and holding firmly to 
it. When his hand was removed the blood began to flow; when they let go 
of his hand it returned to its place and the flow of blood ceased. On his 
finger was a ring inscribed 'Allah is my Lord'. A report was sent to 'Umar 
and he replied : * Leave him alone and cover in the grave' and his orders were 
duly carried out. 


A man of Saba called Daus Dhu Tha'laban escaped on a horse, and taking 
to the desert eluded them. 2 He pressed on until he reached the Byzantine 
court, when he asked the emperor to aid him against Dhu Nuwas and his 
6 troops, telling him what had happened. The latter replied that his country 
■ was too distant for him to be able to help by sending troops, but that he 
would write to the Abyssinian king who was a Christian and whose 
territory was near the Yaman. Accordingly he did write ordering him to 
help Daus and seek revenge. 

Daus went to the Negus with the emperor's letter, and he sent with him 
seventy thousand Abyssinians, putting over them a man called Aryat. 
(T. He ordered him to kill a third of the men, lay waste a third of the 
country, and seize a third of the women and children if he conquered.) 
With the army there was a man called Abraha 'Split-face'. Aryat. crossed 
the sea with Daus Dhu Tha'laban and landed in the Yaman. Dhu Nuwas 
with the Himyarites and such of the Yamani tribes as were under his com- 
mand came out against him, and after an engagement Dhu Nuwas and his 
force was put to flight. 3 Seeing that his cause was lost Dhu Nuwas turned 
his horse seawards beating it until it entered the waves and carried him 
through the shallows out into the deep water. This was the last that was 
seen of him. Aryat entered the Yaman and took possession of it. (T. He 

' Another tradition in T\ »«y* that 'Abdullah was killed by an earlier kin*. Azr i. 81 
Rives a somewhat different version from the riudya of Ibn Saj. For an account of these 
martyrs from Christian source, see The Book of the H.myarites. ed. Axel Moberg. Lund, 

,9 * 4 T«b. 925. 9 say. that there was a Yamani report that a man of Najran called Jabbir 

b. Fayd also escaped. _ . , . . 

1 Tab. 927. 15 contains an account of the disordered state of the Yamani army and their 

feeble < 

The Life of Muhammad 19 

carried out the Negus's orders, and sent a third of the women and children 
to him. He stayed on in the country and reduced it to subjection.) 

One of the Yamanls remembering how Daus had brought the Abys- 
sinians upon them said : 

Not like Daus and not like the things he carried in his saddle bag. 

And this saying has become proverbial in the Yaman until this day. 

Dhu Jadan the Himyari (T recording their humiliation after their former 
glory and Aryat's destruction of their castles Silhin, Baynun, and Ghumdan 
unique in their splendour) recited : 

Gently! Tears tannot recall what is sped. 

Fret not thyself for those who are dead. 

After Baynun no stones nor trace remain, 

And after Silhin shall men build such houses again ? 

Baynun, Silhin, and Ghumdan are Yamani castles which Aryat destroyed 
and none like them existed. 
He continued: 

Peace, confound you! You can't turn me from my purpose 

Thy scolding dries my spittle! 

To the music of singers in times past 'twas fine 

When we drank our fill of purest noblest wine. 

Drinking freely of wine brings me no shame 

If my behaviour no boon-companion would blame. 

For death no man can hold back 

Though he drink the perfumed potions of the quack. 

Nor monk in his secluded cell on high 

Where the vulture round his nest doth fly. 

You have heard of Ghumdan's towers: 

From the mountain top it lowers 

Well carpentered, with stones for stay, 

Plastered with clean, damp, slippery clay ; 

Oil lamps within it show 

At even like the lightning's glow. 

Beside its wall the palm-trees fine 

With ripening fruit in clusters shine. 

This once-new castle is ashes today, 

The flames have eaten its beauty away. 

Dhu Nuwas humbled gave up his castle great 

And warned his people of their coming fate. 

With reference to that, Ibn al-Dhi'ba al-Thaqafi said (31): 

By thy life there 's no escape for a man when death and old age seize 

By thy life a man has nowhere to flee— no asylum 

20 The Life of Muhammad 

Could there be after Himyar's tribes were destroyed one morn by 
calamity's stroke, 

A thousand thousand with spearmen (glittering) like the sky before 

Their cry deafened the chargers and they put to flight the warriors 

with their pungent smell. 
Witches as the sand in number the very sap of trees dried at their 


'Amr b. Ma'dl Karib al-Zubaydl said concerning a dispute which he had 
with Qays b. Makshuh al-Muradl when he heard that he had threatened 
him, and bringing to memory the lost glory of Himyar: 

Do you threaten me as though you were Dhu Ru'ayn 

Or Dhu Nuwas in the days of their prime? 

Many a man before you was prosperous 

With a kingdom firmly rooted among men. 

Ancient as the days of 'Ad 

Exceeding fierce, overcoming tyrants, 

Yet his people perished 

And he became a wanderer among men (32). 



Aryat held sway in the Yaman for some years and then Abraha the 
Abyssinian (T. who was in his army) disputed his authority, and the 
Abyssinians split into two parties each claiming supporters. When war 
was about to begin, Abraha sent to Aryat asking him to avert the danger of 
internecine war and inviting him to settle the dispute by personal combat, 
the winner to be the sole commander of the army. Aryat agreed and Abraha 
went forth to meet him. He was a short fat man holding the Christian 
faith; and Aryat advanced against him spear in hand; he was a big, tall, 
handsome man.' Abraha had a young man called 'Atawda at his back to 
defend him against attack from the rear. Aryat raised his spear striking 
at Abraha's skull and hit him on the forehead splitting his eyebrow, nose, 
2g eye, and mouth. It was for this reason that he was called al-Ashram 
(split-face). Thereupon 'Atawda coming out from behind Abraha attacked 
Aryat and killed him, and ArySt's army joined Abraha, and the Abyssinians 
in the Yaman accepted him as their chief. (T. Then 'Atawda cried : ' 'Atawda 
you see, of an evil company ; parentless in nobility', meaning that Abraha's 
slave had killed Ary§t. Al-Ashram asked what he wanted, for though he 
had killed him blood-money must be paid. He asked and obtained from him 

1 A slightly longer account is given in Azr. i. 86. 

The Life of Muhammad 21 

the right of primae noctis in Yaman.) Abraha paid blood-money for killing 
Aryat. (T. All this happened without the knowledge of the Negus.) 

When the news of this affair reached the Negus he was filled with rage 
and said: 'Has he attacked my amir and killed him without any order from 
me ?' Then he swore an oath that he would not leave Abraha alone until 
he had trodden his land and cut off his forelock. So Abraha shaved his 
head and filled a leather bag with the earth of the Yaman and sent it to the 
Negus with the following letter: 'O King, Aryat was only thy slave and I 
too am thy slave. We disputed about your orders; everyone must obey 
you ; but I was stronger, firmer, and more skilful in managing the affairs of 
the Abyssinians. Now when I was told of the king's oath I shaved the 
whole of my head and I send it to you with a bag of the dust of my land that 
you may put it beneath your feet and thus keep your oath concerning me.' 
When this message reached the Negus he was reconciled to him and wrote 
to him that he was to stay in the Yaman until further orders ; so Abraha 
remained in the Yaman. (T. When Abraha perceived that the Negus was T« 933 
reconciled and had made him viceregent of the Yaman, he sent to Abu 
Murra b. Dhu Yazan and took away from him his wife Rayhana d. 
'Alqama b. Malik b. Zayd b. Kahlan. Abu Murra who is Dhu Jadan had 
a son by her— Ma'dl Karib. Afterwards she bore to Abraha a son Masruq 
and a daughter Basbasa. Abu Murra took to flight. His slave 'Atawda 
went on exercising his right in Yaman until a man of Himyar of Khath'am 
attacked and killed him; and when the news reached Abraha, who was 
a lenient noble character, a Christian of temperate habits, he told the 
people that it was high time that they had an official with due self-control 
and that had he known that 'Atawda would have chosen such a reward for 
his services he would not have allowed him to choose his reward. Further no 
bloodwit would be exacted and he would not take any action against them 
for killing 'Atawda.) 


Then Abraha built the cathedral' in San'a', such a church as could not be 
seen elsewhere in any part of the world at that time. He wrote to the 
Negus saying: 'I have built a church for you, O King, such as has not been 
built for any king before you. I shall not rest until I have diverted the 
Arabs' pilgrimage to it.' When the Arabs were talking about this letter of 
his, one of the calendar intercalators was enraged. He was of the B. 
Fuqaym b. 'Adiy b. 'Amir b. Tha'Iaba b. al-Harith b. Malik b. Kinana b. 
Khuzayma b. Mudrika b. Ilyas b. Mudar. The intercalators are those 
who used to adjust the months for the Arabs in the time of ignorance. They 

1 al-Qullays. The Arab commentators derive this word from an Arabic root, but it is 
•imply the Greek ekkltua. 

22 The Life of Muhammad 

would make one of the holy months profane, and make one of the profane 
3 o months holy to balance the calendar. It was about this that God sent 
down: 'Postponement (of a sacred month) is but added infidelity by which 
those who disbelieve are misled. They make it (the month) profane one 
year and make it sacred the next year, that they may make up the number of 
the months which God has made sacred (33).' 1 

The first to impose this system of intercalation on the Arabs was 
al-Qalammas who was Hudhayfa b. 'Abd b. Fuqaym b. *Adiy b. 'Amir 
b. Tha'laba b. al-Harith b. Malik b. Kinana b. Khuzayma ; his son 'Abbad 
followed him; then his descendants Qala', Umayya, 'Auf, and Abu 
Thumama Junada b. 'Auf who was the last of them, for he was overtaken 
by Islam. When the Arabs had finished pilgrimage, it used to be their 
practice to gather round him and he would declare the four sacred months 
Rajab, Dhu'l-Qa'da, Dhu'l-Hijja, and al-Muharram. If he wanted to free 
a period he would free al-Muharram and they would declare it free and ban 
Safar in its place so as to make up the number of the four sacred months. 
When they wanted to return from Mecca, 2 he got up and said: 'O God, 
I have made one of the Safars free for them, the first Safar, and I have 
postponed the other till next year.' 

About this 'Umayr b. Qays Jadhlu'l-Ti'an, one of the B. Firas b. 
Ghanm b. Tha'laba b. Malik b. Kinana, boasting of this determining of 
the months, improvised: 

Ma'add knows that my people are the most honourable of men and 
have noble ancestors. 
3I Who has escaped us when we seek vengeance and whom have we not 
made to champ the bit ? 
Are we not Ma'add's calendar-makers, making profane months sacred ? 


The Kinanite went forth until he came to the cathedral and defiled 
it (35). Then he returned to his own country. Hearing of the matter Abraha 
made inquiries and learned that the outrage had been committed by an 
Arab who came from the temple in Mecca where the Arabs went on 
pilgrimage, and that he had done this in anger at his threat to divert the 
Arabs' pilgrimage to the cathedral, showing thereby that it was unworthy 
of reverence. 

Abraha was enraged and swore that he would go to this temple and 
J. 934 destroy it. (T. With Abraha there were some Arabs who had come to seek 
his bounty, among them Muhammad b. KhuzS'l b. Khuzaba al-Dhak- 
wanl, al-Sulami, with a number of his tribesmen including a brother of his 
called Qays. While they were with him a feast of Abraha occurred and 
he sent to invite them to the feast. Now he used to eat an animal's testicles, 

1 Sura 9. 37. 

a If by tHis time a sacred month was due, raiding and blood-revenge would be taboo; 
hence the need to declare the month profane. 

The Life of Muhammad 23 

so when the invitation was brought they said, 'By God, if we eat this the 
Arabs will hold it against us as long as we live.' Thereupon Muhammad got 
up and went to Abraha and said, 'O King, this is a festival of ours in which 
we eat only the loins and shoulders.' Abraha replied that he would send 
them what they liked, because his sole purpose in inviting them was to 
show that he honoured them. Then he crowned Muhammad and made 
him amir of Mudar and ordered him to go among the people to invite 
them to pilgrimage at his cathedral which he had built. When Muhammad 
got as far as the land of Kinana the people of the lowland knowing what 
he had come for sent a man of Hudhayl called 'Urwa b. Hayyad al-Milasi 
who shot him with an arrow, killing him. His brother Qays who was with 
him fled to Abraha and told him the news, which increased his rage and 
fury and he swore to raid the B. Kinana and destroy the temple.) So he 
commanded the Abyssinians to prepare and make ready, and sallied forth 
with the elephant. News of this plunged the Arabs into alarm and anxiety 
and they decided that it was incumbent on them to fight against him when 
they heard that he meant to destroy the Ka'ba, God's holy house. 

A member of one of the ruling families in the Yaman, Dhu Nafr by 
name, summoned his people and such of the Arabs as would follow him to 
fight Abraha and stop him from attacking and destroying God's holy 
house. A certain number supported him, but after a battle Dhu Nafr and 
his followers were put to flight and he himself was taken prisoner and 
brought to Abraha. When he was about to put him to death Dhu Nafr 
pleaded for his life on the ground that he would be more useful to him 
alive than dead. Abraha then gave him his life but kept him in fetters. He 
was a merciful man. 

Abraha continued on his road to Mecca until in the country of Khath'am 
he was opposed by Nufayl b. Habib al-Khath'aml with their two tribes 
Shahran and Nahis and such of the Arab tribes as followed him. After an 
engagement he was defeated and taken prisoner. When Abraha thought 
of killing him, Nufayl said: 'Don't kill me, O King, for I will be your 
guide in the Arab country. Here are my two hands as surety that the two 
tribes of Khath'am, Shahran and Nahis, will obey you.' So Abraha let 
him go. 

He continued with him as a guide until they reached Ta'if when Mas'ud 
b. Mu'attib b. Malik b. Ka'b b. 'Amr b. Sa'd b. 'Auf b. Thaqif came out to 
him with the men of Thaqif. Thaqif's name was Qasly b. al-Nabit b. 
Munabbih b. Mansur b. Yaqdum b. Afsa b. Du'ml b. lyad b. Nizar b. 
Ma' add b. 'Adnan. Umayya b. Abu Salt al-Thaqafl said: 

My people are lyad, would that they were near 
Or would that they had stayed (here) though their camels might be 

1 The camels are thin because they are always ovcrmilked to supply the wants of guosts. 
Schulthess, Umayya, 15. reads fatujzara, 'might be slaughtered*. 


24 The Life of Muhammad 

When on the march Iraq's wide plain 

Is theirs— moreover they read and write (36). 

He also said: 

If you ask me who I am, Lubayna, and of my line 

I will tell you the certain truth. 

We belong to al-Nabit the father of Qasiy 

To Mansur son of Yaqdum (our) forefathers (37). 

They said to him: O King, we are thy servants attentive and obedient 
to you. We have no quarrel with you and our temple— meaning that of 
al-L5t— is not the one you seek. You want only the temple in Mecca, and 
we will send with you a man to guide you there. He therefore passed on 
leaving them unmolested. 

As to al-Lat it was a temple of theirs in al-Ta'if which they used to 
venerate as the Ka'ba is venerated (38). So they sent with him Abu 
Righal to guide him on the way to Mecca, and when he had brought 
him as far as al-Mughammis 1 Abu Righal died there and the Arabs 
stoned his grave. This is the grave which people in al-Mughammis still 

Arrived here, Abraha sent an Abyssinian called al-Aswad b. Mafsud 3 
with some cavalry as far as Mecca and the latter sent off to him the plunder 
of the people of Tihama, the Quraysh and others, among it two hundred 
camels belonging to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib b. Hashim, who at that time was 
the leading shaykh of Quraysh. At first Quraysh, Kinana, and Hudhayl 
and others who were in the holy place meditated battle, but seeing that 
they had not the power to offer resistance they gave up the idea. 

Abraha sent Hunaja the Himyarite to Mecca instructing him to inquire 
who was the chief notable of the country and to tell him that the king's 
message was that he had not come to fight them, but only to destroy the 
temple. If they offered no resistance there was no cause for bloodshed, 
and if he wished to avoid war he should return with him. On reaching 
Mecca Hunaja was told that 'Abdu'l-Muttalib b. Hashim b. 'Abd ManSf 
b. Qusayy was the leading notable, so he went to him and delivered Abraha's 
message. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib replied: 4 God knows that we do not wish to 
fight him for we have not the power to do so. This is Allah's sanctuary 
and the temple of His friend Abraham— or words to that effect— If He 
defends it against him it is His temple and His sanctuary; and if he 
lets him have it by God we cannot defend it!* Hunata replied that he 
must come with him to Abraha, for he was ordered to bring him back 
with him. 

So accompanied by one of his sons"Abdu'l-Muttalib came to the camp 

1 Also written al-Mughammas, a place 'two thirds of a parasang' (roughly two miles) 

from Mecca. 

2 The practice survives to this day. 

» Other authorities write Maqsiid. Mafsud means 'slash-faced'. 

The Life of Muhammad 25 

and inquired for Dhii Nafr, for he was a friend of his. He went in to see 
him as he was in confinement and asked him if he could do anything to 
help them in their trouble. Dhu Nafr replied : 'What use is a man held a 
prisoner in the hands of a king, expecting to be killed at any moment? 
I can do nothing to help you except that Unays the keeper of the elephant 
being a friend of mine, I will send to him and commend your case to him 
as strongly as possible asking him to try to get you permission to see the 
king. So speak as you think fit, and he will intercede for you with the king 
if he is able to do so.' So Dhu Nafr sent to Unays saying, 'The king has 
taken two hundred camels belonging to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib, lord of Quraysh 
and master of the Meccan 1 well who feeds men in the plain and wild 
creatures on the top of the mountains, and is now here. So ask permission 3-* 
for him to see the king and help him as far as you can.* He said he would 
do so and repeated these words to the king, adding that 'Abdu'l-Muttalib 
wished to see him and talk to him about a pressing matter. Abraha agreed 
to see him. Now 'Abdu'l-Muttalib was a most impressive, handsome, and 
dignified man, and when Abraha saw him he treated him with the greatest 
respect so that he would not let him sit beneath him. He could not let the 
Abyssinians see him sitting beside him on his royal throne, so he got off 
his throne and sat upon his carpet and made 'Abdu'l-Muttalib sit beside 
him there. Then he told his interpreter to inquire what he wanted, and the 
reply was that he wanted the king to return two hundred camels of his 
which he had taken. Abraha replied through the interpreter, 'You pleased 
me much when I saw you ; then I was much displeased with you when I 
heard what you said. Do you wish to talk to me about two hundred camels 
of yours which I have taken, and say nothing about your religion and the 
religion of your forefathers which I have come to destroy?' 'Abdu'l-Mut- 
talib replied, * I am the owner of the camels and the temple has an owner who 
will defend it.' When the king replied that he could not defend it against 
him he said, 'That remains to be seen.' ('Give me back my camels.*) T- 939 

Some learned people allege that when 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went to Abraha 
when he sent Hunata to him, there accompanied him Ya'mur b. Nufatha 
b. 'Adiy b. al-Du'il b. Bakr b. 'Abd Manat b. Kinana, at that time chief 
of B. Bakr, and Khuwaylid b. Wathila, then chief of Hudhayl. They 
offered to give Abraha a third of the cattle of the lowland on condition 
that he would withdraw from them and not destroy the temple, but he 
refused their request; but God knows whether this was so or not. At 
any rate Abraha restored to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib the camels which he had 

When they left him, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went back to Quraysh and having 
given them the news ordered them to withdraw from Mecca and take up 
defensive positions on the peaks and in the passes of the mountains for 
fear of the excesses of the soldiers. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib took hold of the 
metal knocker of the Ka'ba, and a number of Quraysh stood with him praying 

' C. has 'Jr, 'caravan'. 

26 The Life of Muhammad 

to God and imploring his help against Abraha and his army. As he was 
holding the knocker of the temple door, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib said: 

15 O God, a man protects his dwelling so protect Thy dwellings. 1 

Let not their cross and their craft tomorrow overcome Thy craft (39). 2 

'Ikrima b. 'Amir b. Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf b. 'Abd al-Dar b. Qusayy 

O God, humiliate al-Aswad b. Mafsud 

Who took a hundred camels wearing their collars ; 

Between Hira' and Thabir and the deserts, 

He shut them in when they should be pasturing freely, 

And delivered them to the black barbarians, 

Withdraw from him thine aid, O Lord, for Thou art worthy to be 
praised (40). 

'Abdu'l-Muttalib then let go the knocker of the door of the Ka'ba and 
went off with his Quraysh companions to the mountain tops where they 
took up defensive positions waiting to see what Abraha would do when he 
occupied Mecca. In the morning Abraha prepared to enter the town and 
made his elephant ready for battle and drew up his troops. His intention 
was to destroy the temple and then return to the Yaman. When they made 
the elephant (its name was Mahmud) face Mecca, Nufayl b. Habib came 
up to its flank and taking hold of its ear said: 'Kneel, Mahmud, or go 
straight back whence you came, for you are in God's holy land !' He let go 
of its ear and the elephant knelt, and Nufayl made off at top speed for the 
top of the mountain. The troops beat the elephant to make it get up but it 
would not; they beat its head with iron bars; they stuck hooks into its 
underbelly and scarified it ; but it would not get up. Then they made it 
face the Yaman and immediately it got up and started off. When they set 
it towards the north and the east it did likewise, but as soon as they directed 
it towards Mecca it knelt down. 

Then God sent upon them birds from the sea like swallows and 
36 starlings; each bird carried three stones, like peas and lentils, one in its 
beak and two between its claws. Everyone who was hit died but not all 
were hit. They withdrew in flight by the way they came, crying out for 
Nufayl b. Habib to guide them on the way to the Yaman. When he saw 
the punishment which God had brought down on them Nufayl said : 

Where can one flee when God pursueth ? 
Al-Ashram is the conquered not the conqueror (41). 

■ Hildl, the plural of hilla, means a collection of houses and also the people who live 
therein. For rahlahu al-Shahrastani, Milal, has htllahu 'his neighbour', and for ghaduan 
'tomorrow' 'adtcan, which could be rendered 'hostile' here. For qiblatand he has Ka batand. 

1 mihdl here is said by C. and Abu Dharr to mean strength and power ; but it really means 
'guile', 'strategy accompanied by force'. 'Craft', cf. Kraft, appears to be the best rendering. 
The passage is a reminiscence of Sura 13. 14, and the idea may be found in the Quranic 
saying of God: Khayru l-mdkirin, 3. 47. T- has preserved four lines of no poetic merit which 
I.H. preferred to excise. 

The Life of Muhammad 27 

Nufayl also said: 

Our greetings, Rudayna! 

You rejoice our eyes this morning! 

[Your fuel-seeker came to us last night, T« 94* 

But we had naught to give him.] 

If you had seen, but you will not see, Rudayna, 

What we saw on al-Muhassab's side' 

You would have forgiven me and praised my action 

And not have been vexed at what has passed and gone. 2 

I praised God when I saw the birds, 

And I feared the stones that might fall upon us. 

Everyone was asking for Nufayl 

As though I owed the Abyssinians a debt. 

As they withdrew they were continually falling by the wayside dying 
miserably by every waterhole. Abraha was smitten in his body, and as they 
took him away his fingers fell off one by one. Where the finger had been, 
there arose an evil sore exuding pus and blood, so that when they brought 
him to Sana' he was like a young fledgeling. They allege that as he died 
his heart burst from his body. (A. Deserters from the army, labourers, ^ 9 , 
and campfollowers remained in Mecca and became workers and shepherds 

for the population.) 

Ya'qub b. 'Utba told me that he was informed that that year was the 
first time that measles and smallpox had been seen in Arabia; and, too, 
that it was the first time that bitter herbs like rue, colocynth, and Asclepias 
gigantea were seen. 

When God sent Muhammad he specially recounted to the Quraysh 
his goodness and favour in turning back the Abyssinians in order to 
preserve their state and permanence. 'Did you not see how your Lord 
dealt with the owners of the elephant? Did He not reduce their guile to 
sheer terror? And sent upon them flocks of birds, throwing hard clay 
stones upon them, making them as blades of corn that have been devoured.' 3 

And again: Tor the uniting of Quraysh, their uniting the caravans to 37 
ply summer and winter. Then let them worship the Lord of this temple, 
who has fed them so that they hunger not, and made them safe from fear', 4 

» A place between Mecca and Mini in the valley of Mecca. See Yaqut. 

* Possibly bayna is a poetical form of baynand, 'between us'. The line is based on Sura 

57- *3- 

3 Sura 105. , 

♦ Sura 106. A good discussion of this difficult passage will be found in Lane s Lexicon 
p. 796 and c. There are three rival readings: ildf (adopted by our author), ildf, and «//. 
According to all three the meaning is said to be 'for their keeping to the journey etc. Other 
authorities say that the first reading means 'for the preparing and fitting out . Others say 
that according to the third reading the meaning is 'the protecting'. According to Ibn al- 
A'rabi the point of this is that the four sons of *Abdu Manaf were given freedom to travel 
by the Byzantines, Persian, Abyssinians, and rjimyaris respectively and so were able to go 
and bring corn from neighbouring territories. There may be a sound historical kernel to 

28 The Life of Muhammad 

i.e. so that their status should remain unaltered because of God's good 
purpose towards them if they would receive it (42). 
38 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr via 'Amra daughter of 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 
Sa'd b. Zurara told me that 'A'isha said: 'I saw the leader of the elephant 
and its groom walking about Mecca blind and crippled begging for food.' 1 



When God turned back the Abyssinians from Mecca and executed His 
vengeance upon them, the Arabs held the Quraysh in great honour, saying, 
'They are the people of God: God fought for them and thwarted the 
attack of their enemies.' On this theme they composed many poems. 
Thus 'Abdullah b. al-Zibra'ra b. 'Adiy b. Qays b. *AdIy b. Sa'd Ij. Sahm b. 
'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr said: 

Withdraw from the vale of Mecca for 
From of old its sanctuary has not been violated. 
When it was sanctified, Sirius had not been created. 
No mighty man has ever attacked it. 
39 Ask the commander of the Abyssinians 2 what he saw. 

He who knows what happened will tell the ignorant. 
Sixty thousand men returned not home, 
Nor did their sick recover after their return. 
'Ad and Jurhum were (in Mecca) before them. 
God has set it above all creatures. 

The words 'nor did their sick recover after their return' refer to Abraha 
whom they carried with them when he was smitten, until he died in San'a'. 
Abu Qays b. al-Aslat al-Ansarl al-Khatml, Sayfl by name (43) said: 

His work it was on the day of the Abyssinian elephant. 

Whenever they urged it forward it held its ground, 

(They drove) their hooks beneath its flanks, 

They split its nose and it was torn. 

They used a knife as a whip. 

When they applied it to its back it made a wound. 

It turned and faced the way it had come. 

Those there bore the burden of their injustice. 

this tradition. The four brothers gave this protection (ilaf) to those journeying to the 
•everal countries. Thus for i/J/the meanings of covenant, protection, and responsibility for 
safety are illustrated. 

1 Azr. i. 92 reports from I.I. that envoys from the tribes went to congratulate Sayf b. 
Dhu Yawn on his restoration to kingship. He singled out Quraysh for special treatment. 
* I prefer the reading hubshi (W.) to the jayM of C. 

The Life of Muhammad 29 

God sent a wind bringing pebbles from above them 
And they huddled together like lambs. 1 
Their priests urged them to endure, 
But they bleated like sheep (44). 

Rise and pray to your Lord and stroke 
The corners of this temple between the mountains. 2 
He gave you a convincing test 
On the day of Abu Yaksum leader of the squadrons. 
His cavalry was in the plain, his infantry 
Upon the passes of the distant hills. 
When the help of the Lord of the Throne reached you, 
His armies repulsed them, 3 pelting them and covering them with 

Quickly they turned tail in flight, and none 4° 
But a few returned to his people from the army (45).* 

Talib b. Abu Talib b. 'Abdu 1-Muttalib said: 

Know you not what happened in the war of Dahis 5 
And Abu Yaksum's army when it filled the pass I 
But for the help of God the Sole Existent One 
You would have been unable to save your lives (46).* 

Abu al-Salt b. Abu Rabi'a al-Thaqafi referring to the elephant and to the 
Hanafi religion being that of Abraham said (47): 

The signs of our Lord arc illuminating. 7 
None but infidels doubt them. 
Night and Day were created and all 
Is abundantly plain, its reckoning is fixed. 
Then the merciful Lord revealed the day 
By the sun whose rays are seen everywhere. 
He held the elephant fast in al-Mughammas until 
It sank to the ground as though it were hamstrung.* 

I With some hesitation I read this line : falaffuhum . . . al-qaram. W. reads yaluffuhum ; 
C inserts no vowels to the form I have read as indicated. Both W. and C. read al-quzum 
which means 'small bodies'. Abu Dharr (Bronnle, 21) read al-qaram, which he explained 
by sighdru'l-ghanam. The line that follows seems to require a reference to sheep here. 

J The term akhdshib refers to the mountains of Mecca. 

1 i.e. the angels. . . . 

* Or, 'from the Abyssinians". See n. 2, p. 28. These lines occur again in W., p. i»o. 

* Dahis is the name of a horse. Foul play during a race led to a long and bloody feud 
between the tribes of *Abs and Dhubyan. See Nicholson, L.H.A. 61-62. 

6 Or, 'property'. 

7 Reading thdqibdtun with C. ( 
» laziman, Jahi?, tfayawan, Cairo, i 9 45-/«364. vii. 198, reads wadt an but the received 

text is better. I owe this explanation of halqa to my colleague Dr. el- J ayeb. Commentators 
and translators have missed the point. 



The Life of Muhammad 

Its trunk curled ring- wise; it lay motionless as; 

A boulder flung down from Kabkab's rocks. 

Round it Kinda's kings, warriors, 

Mighty hawks in war. 

They abandoned it and departed headlong 

All of them; the shank of each one of them was broken. 

In God's sight at the Resurrection every religion 

But that of the hanif is doomed to perdition (48). 

41 When Abraha died his son Yaksum became king of the Abyssinians. 
945 (T. Himyar and the tribes of Yaman were humiliated under the heel of the 
Abyssinians. They took their women and killed their men and seized their 
young men to act as interpreters.) W hen Yaksum b. Abraha died his brother 
Masruq b. Abraha reigned over the Abyssinians in the Yaman. 


When the people of the Yaman had long endured oppression, Sayf b. 
Dhu Yazan the Himyarite, who was known as Abu Murra, went to the 
Byzantine emperor and complained to him of his troubles, asking him to 
drive out the Abyssinians and take over the country. He asked him 
to send what forces he pleased and promised him the kingdom of the 

The emperor paid no attention to his request, so he went to al-Nu'man 
b. al-Mundhir, who was Chosroes' governor at al-Hira and the surrounding 
country of Iraq. When he complained of the Abyssinians, al-Nu'man b. 
al-Mundhir told him that he paid a formal visit every year to Chosroes 
and he asked him to stay with him until then. Accordingly he took him 
with him and introduced him to Chosroes. Now he used to sit in his 
audience chamber which contained his crown. According to reports, his 
crown was like a huge grain-measure with rubies, pearls, and topazes set 
in gold and silver, suspended by a golden chain from the top of the dome 
in his hall of audience. Such was the weight of the crown that his neck 
could not bear it. He was hidden behind a robe until he sat on his throne ; 
then his head was inserted into the crown, and when he was settled com- 
fortably on his throne the robes were taken from him. Everyone who saw 
him for the first time fell to his knees in awe. When Sayf b. Dhu Yazan 
entered his presence he fell to his knees (49). 

He said: 'O King, ravens 1 have taken possession of our country.' 
Chosroes asked, 'What ravens, Abyssinians or Sindians?' 'Abyssinians,' he 
replied, 'and I have come to you for help and that you may assume the 

» i.e. 'blacks'. 

The Life of Muhammad 3 » 

kingship of my country.' He answered, 'Your country is far distant and 
has little to attract me ; I cannot endanger a Persian army in Arabia and 
there is no reason why I should do so.' Then he made him a present of 
10,000 drachmae sterling and invested him in a fine robe. Sayf went out 
with the silver and began to scatter it among the people ; (T. Boys and T- 947 
slaves of both sexes scrambled for the coins). When the king was told of 
this he thought it very extraordinary and sent for him and said, 'You mean 
to throw away a royal gift!' He answered: 'What use is silver to me? The 
mountains of my country from which I come are nothing but gold and 
silver.' This he said to excite his cupidity. Chosroes thereupon gathered 
his advisers together and asked their opinion about the man and his project. 
One of them reminded the king that in his prisons there were men who 
were condemned to death. If he were to send them with him and they 
were killed, that would merely be the fate that he had determined for them ; 43 
on the other hand, if they conquered the country he would have added to 
his empire. Thereupon Chosroes sent those who were confined in his 
prisons to the number of eight hundred men. 

He put in command of them a man called Wahriz who was of mature 
age and of excellent family and lineage. They set out in eight ships, two 
of which foundered, so that only six reached the shores of Aden. Sayf 
brought ail the people that he could to. Wahriz saying, 'My foot is with 
your foot, we die or conquer together.' 'Right,' said W r ahriz. Masruq b. 
Abraha the king of Yaman came out against him with his army, and 
Wahriz sent one of his sons to fight them so as to get experience in their 
way of fighting. His son was killed and he was filled with rage against 
them. When the men were drawn up in their ranks Wahriz said, 'Show me 
their king.' They said, 'Do you see a man on an elephant with a crown on 
his head and a red ruby on his forehead ? That is their king.' 'Let him be,' 
he said, and they waited a long time and then he said, 'What is he riding 
now?' They said: 'He is now bestride a horse'; again they waited. He 
asked the same question and they said he* was bestride a mule. Said 
Wahriz: 'An ass's filly 1 A weak creature, and so is his kingdom. I will 
shoot him. If you see that his followers have not moved, then stand fast 
until I give you permission to advance, for I shall have missed the fellow. 
But if you see the people flocking round him I shall have hit him, so fall 
upon them.' He then bent his bow (the story goes that it was so tough 
that no one but he could bend it) and ordered that his eyebrows be fastened 
back,' then he shot Masruq and split the ruby in his forehead and the 
arrow pierced his head and came out at the back of his neck. He fell off his 
mount and the Abyssinians gathered round him. When the Persians fell 
upon them, they fled and were killed as they bolted in all directions. 
Wahriz advanced to enter into San'a', and when he reached its gate he said 
that his standard should never be lowered and he ordered them to destroy 
the gate and went in with his flag flying. 

1 His eyes were half closed from age. 

32 The Life of Muhammad 

Sayf b. Dhu Yazan al-Himyari said : 

44 Men thought the two kings had made peace 

And those who heard of their reconciliation found the matter was 
very grave. 

We slew the prince Masruq and reddened the sands with blood. 
The new prince, the people's prince, 
Wahriz swore an oath that 

He would drink no wine until he had captured prisoners and spoil (50). 

Abu al-Salt b. Abu Rabi'a al-Thaqafi (51) said: 

Let those seek vengeance who are like Ibn Dhu Yazan 

Who spent long years at sea because of his enemies, 

When the time for his journey came he went to Caesar 

But did not attain what he sought. 

Then he turned to Chosroes after ten years, 

Counting his life and money cheap, 

Until he came bringing the Persians with him. 

By my life you were swift in action, 

What a noble band came out: 

Never were their like seen among men ! 

Nobles, princes, mighty men, archers, 

Lions who train their cubs in the jungle! 

From curved bows they shot arrows 

Stout as the poles of the howdah 

Bringing the victim a speedy death. 

You sent lions against black dogs, 

Their fugitives are scattered all over the earth. 

So drink your fill, wearing your crown, 

On Ghumdan's top reclining in a house you have chosen. 

Drink your fill, for they are dead, 

And walk proudly today in your flowing robes. 

Such are noble deeds! not two pails of milk mingled with water 

Which afterwards become urine (53). 

45 'Adly b. Zayd al-Hlri, one of B. Tamlm, said: 

What is there after San'a' in which once lived 

Rulers of a kingdom whose gifts were lavish ? 

Its builder raised it to the flying clouds, 

Its lofty chambers gave forth musk. 

Protected by mountains against the attacks of enemies, 1 

Its lofty heights unscalable. 

1 Kaid here I take to mean a resourceful foe. The 
to God. 

a reference 

The Life of Muhammad 33 

Pleasant was the voice of the night owl there, 

Answered at even by a flute player. 

Fate brought to it the Persian army 

With their knights in their train ; 

They travelled on mules laden with death, 

While the asses' foals ran beside them 

Until the princes saw from the top of the fortress 

Their squadrons shining with steel, 

The day that they called to the barbarians and al-Yaksiim 

'Cursed be he who runs away!' 

'Twas a day of which the story remains, 

But a people of long established 1 dignity came to an end. 

Persians 2 replaced the native born, 

The days were dark 3 and mysterious. 

After noble sons of Tubba', 

Persian generals were firmly settled there (54). 

(T. When Wahriz had conquered the Yaman and driven out the Abyssi- T- 949 
nians he wrote to Chosroes telling him of what had been done and sending 
him captured treasure. In his reply the king told him to appoint Sayf king 
of the Yaman. He also gave Sayf instructions to collect taxes every year 
and to remit them to him. He summoned Wahriz to his presence and Sayf 
became king, he being the son of Dhu Yazan of the Kings of the Yaman. 
This is what Ibn Humayd told me from Salama on the authority of Ibn 
Ishaq.) 4 

(When Wahriz had gone to Chosroes and made Sayf king of the Yaman, T. 957 
the latter began to attack the Abyssinians, killing them and slaying the 
women with child until he exterminated all but an insignificant number of 
miserable creatures whom he employed as slaves and runners to go before 
him with their lances. Before very long he was out with these armed slaves 
when suddenly they surrounded him and stabbed him to death. One of 
them established himself as leader and they went through the Yaman slay- 
ing and laying waste the country. When the Persian king heard of this he 
sent Wahriz with 4,000 Persians and ordered him to kill every Abyssinian 
or child of an Abyssinian and an Arab woman, great or small, and not leave 
alive a single man with crisp curly hair. Wahriz arrived and in due course 
carried out these instructions and wrote to tell the king that he had done 
so. The king then gave him viceregal authority and he ruled under Chos- 
roes until his death.) 

1 Reading umma for C.'s imma. 

* Fayj, the reading of C. (against VJ.'afayh) is a Persian word for a crowd of men. I.K. 
has hayj. 

3 A variant is khun, 'treacherous'. 

4 In this chapter T-'s version is much more vivid and detailed and reads much more like 
the lively style of Ibn Ishaq. No doubt Ibn Hisham cut down this to him unimportant 
chapter as much as he could. 

B 4080 D 


The Life of Muhammad 



Wahriz and the Persians dwelt in the Yaman, and the Abna' who are in the 
Yaman today are descended from the survivors of that Persian army. The 
period of Abyssinian domination from the entry of Aryat to the death of 
Masruq ibn Abraha at the hands of the Persians and the expulsion of the 
Abyssinians was seventy-two years. The successive princes were four, 
Aryat, Abraha, Yaksum, and Masruq (55). 

47 It is said that on a rock in the Yaman there was an inscription dating 
from olden times: 

To whom belongs the kingdom of Dhimar ? 

To Himyar the righteous. 

To whom belongs the kingdom of Dhimar ? 

To the evil Abyssinians. 

To whom belongs the kingdom of Dhimar? 

To the free Persians. 

To whom belongs the kingdom of Dhimar ? 
To Quraysh the merchants (56). 

Dhimar means the Yaman or San'a\ 

Al- A'sha of B. Qays b. Tha'laba said when the words of Satlh and his 
companion were fulfilled: 

'No woman has ever seen, as she saw, the truth like the truth of al-Dhi'bi 
when he prophesied." The Arabs called him al-Dhi'bl because he was the 
son of Rabi'a b. Mas'Qd b. Mazin b. Dhi'b (57). 


Nizar b. Ma' add begat three sons: Mudar, Rabi'a, and Anmar (58). 

Anmar was the father of Khath'am and Bajlla. Jarir b. 'Abdullah al- 
Bajall who was chief of the Bajila (of whom someone said: 'But for Jarir, 
Bajila would have perished. A fine man and a poor tribe') said when he 
was appealing against al-Furafisa al-Kalbi to al-Aqra' b. Habis al-Tamlmi 
b. 'IqSl b. MujSshi' b. Darim b. Malik b. Hanzala b. Malik b. Zayd Manat: 

50 O Aqra' b. Habis, O Aqra', 

If thy brother is overthrown thou wilt be overthrown. 

and said: 

Ye two sons of Nizar help your brother. 
My father I wot is your father. 

A brother who is your ally will not be worsted this day. 

1 Legend says that the woman in question was able to see people a three days' journey 

The Life of Muhammad 35 

They went to the Yaman and remained there (59). 

Mudar b. Nizar begat two sons: Ilyas and 'Aylan (60). Ilyls begat three 
sons: Mudrika, Tabikha, and Qam'a. Their mother was Khindif, a Yama- 
nite woman (61). 1 The name of Mudrika was 'Amir and the name of 
Tabikha was 'Amr. There is a story that when they were pasturing their 
camels they hunted some game and sat down to cook it, when some raiders 
swooped upon their camels. 'Amir said to 'Amr: 'Will you go after the 
camels or will you cook this gamer' 'Amr replied that he would go on 
cooking, so 'Amir went after the camels and brought them back. When 
they returned and told their father he said to 'Amir: 'You are Mudrika' 
(the one who overtakes), and to 'Amr he said 'You are Tabikha' (the cook). 
When their mother heard the news she came hurriedly from her tent and 
he said: 'You arc trotting!' {khandafaf and so she was called Khindif. 

As to Qam'a the genealogists of Mudar assert that Khuza'a was one of 
the sons of 'Amr b. Luhayy b. Qam'a b. Ilyas. 


'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm on the authority 
of his father told me as follows: I was told that the apostle of God said: 
'I saw 'Amr b. Luhayy dragging his intestines in hell, and when I asked 
him about those who had lived between his time and mine he said that they 
had perished.' 

Muhammad b. Ibrahim b. al-Harith al-Tamimi told me that Abu Salih 51 
al-Samman told him that he heard Abu Hurayra (62) say: I heard the 
apostle of God saying to Aktham b. al-Jaun al-Khuza'I, 'O Aktham I saw 
'Amr b. Luhayy b. Qam'a b. Khindif dragging his intestines in hell, and 
never did I see two men so much alike as you and he!' 'Will this resem- 
blance injure me?' asked Aktham. 'No,' said the apostle, 'for you are a 
believer and he is an infidel. He was the first to change the religion of 
Ishmael, to set up idols, and institute the custom of the bahira, sS'iba, 
waslla, and harm (63).* 

They say that the beginning of stone worship among the sons of Ishmael 
was when Mecca became too small for them and they wanted more room in 
the country. Everyone who left the town took with him a stone from the 
sacred area to do honour to it. Wherever they settled they set it up and 
walked round it as they went round the Ka'ba. This led them to worship 
what stones they pleased and those which made an impression on them. 
Thus as generations passed they forgot their primitive faith and adopted 

' But see Tabari. 

a This word is explained in the Mufaddaltydt, 763, by fortvala, a quick, ambling, half- 
running gait. The story there is told at greater length. 

A story similar to these two will be found in Ibn al-Kalbi's K. al-Afndm, cd. Ahmad 
^•Wy Pasha, Cairo, jo2 4 , p. 58. These terms arc explained in the next chapter. 

3 6 The Life of Muhammad 

another religion for that of Abraham and Ishmael. They worshipped idols 
and adopted the same errors as the peoples before them. Yet they retained 
and held fast practices going back to the time of Abraham, such as honour- 

5 2 ing the temple and going round it, the great and little pilgrimage,, and the 
standing on 'Arafa and Muzdalifa, sacrificing the victims, and the pilgrim 
cry at the great and little pilgrimage, while introducing elements which 
had no place in the religion of Abraham. Thus, Kinana and Quraysh used 
the pilgrim cry: 'At Thy service, O God, at Thy service! At Thy service, 
Thou without an associate but the associate Thou hast. Thou ownest him 
and what he owns.' They used to acknowledge his unity in their cry and 
then include their idols with God, putting the ownership of them in His 
hand. God said to Muhammad: 1 'Most of them do not believe in God 
without associating others with Him,' i.e. they do not acknowledge My 
oneness with knowledge of My reality, but they associate with Me one of 
My creatures. 2 

The people of Noah had images to which they were devoted. God told 
His apostle about them when He said: 'And they said, "Forsake not your 
gods; forsake not Wudd and Suwa' and Yaghuth and Yauq and Nasr." 
And they had led many astray.' 3 

Among those who had chosen those idols and used their names as com- 
pounds 4 when they forsook the religion of Ishmael — both Ishmaelites and 
others— was Hudhayl b. Mudrika b. Ilyas b. Mudar. They adopted Suwa' 
and they had him in Ruhat ; 5 and Kalb b. Wabra of Quda'a who adopted 
Wudd in DQmatu'l-Jandal. 

Ka'b b. Malik al- Ansari said : 

We forsook al-LSt and al-'Uzza and Wudd. 

We stripped off their necklaces and earrings (64). 

An'um of Tayyi' and the people of Jurash of Madhhij adopted Yaghuth 
in Jurash. 6 (65). 

Khaywan, 7 a clan of Hamdan, adopted Ya uq in the land of Hamdan m 
the Yaman (66). 

DhQ'l-Kala of Himyar adopted Nasr in the Himyar country. 

53 Khaulan had an idol called 'Ammanas 8 in the Khaulan country. Accord- 

1 Sura 12. 106. 

2 While the whole of this section is worth comparing with I. al-Kalbi's K. al-Asndm, this 
passage is important for the light it throws on I.I.'s sources. Where he writes yaz'umun 
I.K. says 'I was told by my father and others'. It seems clear that I.I. has borrowed from 
I.K.'s statements. Where I.K. writes 'their gods' I.I. says 'their idols', and his language 
tends to follow that of the Quran. 

» Sura 71. 23. 4 e.g. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza. 

5 A place near Yanbu'. 6 Jurash is a province in the Yaman. 

7 Khaywan was a town two nights' journey from Sana" on the way to Mecca. I.K. goes 
out of his way to say that he has never heard of any Arab using the name of Ya'uq or any 
poetry about him. He thinks the reason is the influence of Judaism on Hamdan. I.H.'s 
citation should not be taken at its face value. 

• C. 'Ammianas. 'Amm is a divine name met with all over Arabia. G. Ryckmans, La 
Religions arabes prtishmupus, Louvain, 195 1, P- 43. ™te$: 'Le dieu lunaire qatabanite 

The Life of Muhammad 37 

ing to their own account they used to divide their crops and cattle between 
it and Allah. If any of Allah's portion which they had earmarked for him 
came into ' Ammanas's portion they left it to him ; but if any of 'Ammanas's 
portion was in Allah's portion they returned it to him. They are a clan of 
Khaulan called al-Adim. Some say that it was concerning them that God 
revealed : 'They assign to Allah of the and cattle he has created a 

portion; and they say this is Allah's— in their assertion— and this is for 
our partners. Thus what is for their partners does not reach Allah and 
what is for Allah goes to their partners— Evil is their judgment! (67)' 

The B. Milkan b. Kinana b. Khuzayma b. Mudrikab. Ilyas b. Mudar had 
an image called Sa'd, a lofty rock in a desert plain in their country. 2 They 
have a story that one of their tribesmen took some of his stock camels to 
the rock to stand by it so as to acquire its virtue. 3 When the camels, which 
were grazing-camels that were not ridden, saw the rock and smelt the blood 
which had been shed on it they shied from it and fled in all directions. This 
so angered the Milkanite that he seized a stone and threw it at the idol 
saying, 'God curse you. You have scared away my camels!* He went in 
search of them, and when he had collected them together once more he 

We came to Sa'd to improve our fortunes 

But Sa'd dissipated them. 4 We have nothing to do with Sa'd. 

Sa'd is nothing but a rock on a bare height. 

It cannot put one right or send one wrong. 

Daus had an idol belonging to 'Amr b. Humama al-DausI (68). 54 
Quraysh had an idol by a well in the middle of the Ka'ba called Hubal 
(69). And they adopted Isaf (or Asaf) and Na'ila by the place of Zamzam, 
sacrificing beside them. They were a man and a woman of Jurhum— Isaf 
b. Baghy and Na'ila d. Dik— who were guilty of sexual relations in the 
Ka'ba and so God transformed them into two stones. 
'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm on the authority 

*tait 'Amm "beau-pere" appclle' aussi 'Amman. Les gens dc Qataban se qualifiaicnt volon- 
tiers "tils de 'Amm", "tribus dc 'Amm". On connait l'epithete "Amm ra yan wasabirum 
'"Amm le croissant et gyrant'V I owe the following references to the personal name 
'Ammu Anas to Prof. S. Smith: 'In Ma'in: R.E.S., Nos. 2820. 2 9 53. 297' I cf. No. 2001 
Hadramaut. A doubtful occurrence in Musdon, 'Inscriptions sud-arabcs', No. 60 (Ryckmans). 
Saba: CIS. Nos. 13, 308. 414. 5«o. 5". 5»5- Cantineau in Rev. d'Assyr. xxiv pp. 135-46. 
There is an obviously parallel name. No. 1581. Safa: Dussaud et Macler , Mission dans 
Us rigions disertiques de la Syrie moyenne, 1903. No. 183/ If the reading of C. and I.K is 
retained, Wellhausen's proposal (Reste, 23) to that effect is hardly sound, because it would 
then be a personal, not a di%ine, name of the form 'Amminadab, the name borne by Aaron s 
father-in-law. Further examples from old Hebrew can be found in any lexicon. See further 
Robertson Smith. R.S. 25 and D. S. Margoliouth, Relations bettceen Arabs and Israelites, 
London, 1924, pp. 16 f. The best known example of the name 'Amm is in the compound 
Ammurabi (disguised under the forms Hammurabi and Khammurabi in most European 
worka). Anas (anis?) I take to be a synonym of rahim. Sura 6. 137- 

* This plain was by the shore of Jidda; cf. Yaq. iii. 92. J Lit. 'blessing baraka. 

« There is a play on the words -gathering' and 'dispersing' which is difficult to render in 

38 The Life of Muhammad 

of 'Amra d. 'Abdu'l-Rahm5n b. Sa'd b. Zurara that she said, 'I heard 
'A'isha say, "We always heard that Isaf and Na'ila were a man and a 
woman of Jurham who copulated in the Ka'ba so God transformed them 
into two stones." But God alone knows if this is the truth.' 
Abu Talib said: 

Where the pilgrims make their camels kneel 
Where the waters flow from Isa'f and Na'ila. 1 

Every household had an idol in their house which they used to worship. 
When a man was about to set out on a journey he would rub himself 
against it as he was about to ride off: indeed that was the last thing he used 
to do before his journey; and when he returned from his journey the first 
thing he did was to rub himself against it before he went in to his family. 
When God sent Muhammad with the message of monotheism Quraysh 
said : 'Would he make the gods into one God ? That is indeed a strange 

Now along with the Ka'ba the Arabs had adopted Tawaghlt, which were 
temples which they venerated as they venerated the Ka'ba. They had their 
guardians and overseers and they used to make offerings to them as they 
did to the Ka'ba and to circumambulate them and sacrifice at them. Yet 
they recognized the superiority of the Ka'ba because it was the temple and 
mosque of Abraham the friend (of God). 

Quraysh and the B. Kinana had al-'Uzza in Nakhla, its guardians and 
overseers were the B. Shayban of Sulaym, allies of the B. Hashim (70). 

An Arab poet said : 

Asma' was given as a dowry the head of a little red cow 

Which a man of the Banu Ghanm had sacrificed. 

He saw a blemish in her eye when he led her away 

To al-'Uzza's slaughter-place 2 and divided her into goodly portions. 

Their practice when they sacrificed was to divide the victim among the 
worshippers present. Ghabghab was the slaughter-place where the blood 
was poured out (71). 

[Azr. i. 74: 'Amr b. Lu'ayy put al-'Uzza in Nakhla, and when they had 
finished their hajj and the circumambulation of the Ka'ba they continued 
to be under taboo until they came to al-'Uzza and had gone round it; there 
they abandoned the pilgrim taboo and stayed a day beside it. It belonged 
to Khuza'a. All Quraysh and B. Kinana used to venerate al-'Uzza along 
with Khuza'a, and all Mudar. Her sddins who used to guard (hajab) her 
were B. Shayban of B. Sulaym, allies of B. Hashim. Cf. I.H. 839.] 

Al-Lat belonged to Thaqlf in Ta'if, her overseers and guardians being 
B. Mu'attib 3 of Thaqlf. 

Manat was worshipped by al-Aus and al-Khazraj and such of the people 

1 The poem in which this line occurs is to be found in W. 173 v.i. 

2 Ghabghab. » Al-Kalbi says the B. 'Itib b. Malik. 

The Life of Muhammad 39 

of Yathrib as followed their religion by the sea-shore in the direction of 
al-Mushallal in Qudayd (72).* 

[Azr. i. 73. 'Amr b. Lu'ayy set up Manat on the sea-shore near Qudayd. 
Azd and Ghassan went on pilgrimage to it and revered it. When they had 
made the compass of the Ka'ba and hastened from 'Arafat and completed 
the rites at Mina they did not shave their hair until they got to Manat, to 
whom they would cry Labbayki. Those who did so did not go round 
between al-Safa and al-Marwa to the place of the two idols Nahlk Mujawid 
al-Rih and Mut'im al-Tayr. This clan of the Ansar used to begin the 
ceremony by hailing Manat, and when they went on the great or little 
pilgrimage they would not go under the shelter of a roof until they had 
completed it. When a man was under taboo as a pilgrim (ahrama) he would 
not enter his house; if he needed something in it he would climb the wall 
behind his house so that the door should not cover his head. When God 
brought Islam and destroyed the doings of paganism He sent down con- 
cerning that: 'Piety does not consist in entering your houses from the rear 
but in fearing God' (2. 185). Manat belonged to al-Aus and al-Khazraj 
and Ghassan of al-Azd and such of the population of Yathrib and Syria 
who followed their religion. Manat was on the sea-shore in the neighbour- 
hood of al-Mushallal in Qudayd.] 

Dhu'l-Khalasa belonged to Daus, Khath'am, and Bajila and the Arabs in 56 
their area in Tabala (73).* [Azr. i. 73 : 'Amr b. Lu'ayy set up al-Khalasa in 
the lower part of Mecca. They used to put necklaces on it, and bring gifts 
of barley and wheat. They poured milk on it, sacrificed to it, and hung 
ostrich eggs on it. 'Amr set up an image on al-Safa called NahTk Mujawid 
al-Rih, and one on al-Marwa called Mut'im al-Tayr.] 

Fals belonged to Tayyi' and those hard by in the two mountains of 
Tayyi', Salma and Aja' (74). 

Himyar and the Yamanites had a temple in San'a' called Ri'am (75). 

Ruda' was a temple of B. Rabi'a b. Ka'b b. Sa'd b. Zayd Manat b. 
Tamim. Al-Mustaughir b. Rabi'a b. Ka'b b. Sa'd when he destroyed it in 
the time of Islam said : 

I smashed Ruda* so completely that 
I left it a black ruin in a hollow (76). 

Dhu'l-Ka'abat belonged to Bakr and Taghlib the two sons of Wa'il and 57 
Iyad in Sindad. 3 Of it A'sha of B. Qays b. Tha'laba said: 

Between al-Khawarnaq 4 and al-Sadlr and Bariq 
And the temple Dhu'l-Ka'abat 5 of Sindad (77). 

1 Qudayd is on the Red Sea between Yanbu' and Rabigh on the pilgrim route from 
Medina to Mecca, and Mushallal is a mountain overlooking it. 
* About seven nights' journey from Mecca. 
' The lower district of the saw ad of Kufa north of Najran. 

4 A famous palace which al-Nu'min of tfira is said to have built for Sapur. 

5 Or 'the four-square temple'. 

The Life of Muhammad 

the bah Ira, sA'iba, wasIla, and hami 

The Bahira is the filly of the Sa'iba: the Sa'iba is the she camel which gives 
birth to ten fillies without an intervening colt. She is set free, is never 
ridden, her hair is not shorn, and only a guest is allowed to drink her milk. 
If she gives birth to a filly after that its ear is split and it is allowed to go its 
way with its mother, not ridden, hair unshorn, and only a guest may drink 
her milk as in the case of her mother. Such is the Bahira, the filly of the 
Sa'iba. The WasIla is an ewe which has ten twin ewes in successive births 
without a male lamb intervening. She is made a WasIla. They use the 
expression wasalat. Any ewes which she gives birth to after that belong to 
the males, except that if one of them dies all share in eating it, both males 
and females (78). 

The Hami is a stallion who is the sire of ten successive fillies without an 
intervening colt. His back is taboo and he is not ridden; his hair is not 
shorn and he is left to run among the camels to mount them. Beyond that 
no use is made of him (79). 
58 When God sent his apostle Muhammad he revealed to him: 'God has 
not made Bahira, or Sa'iba or WasIla or Hami, but those who disbelieve 
invent a lie against God, though most of them do not know it.' 1 And again: 
'They say, What is in the wombs of these sheep is reserved for our males 
and prohibited to our wives; but if it is (born) dead they share in it. He 
will repay them for such division, verily He is knowing and wise.' 2 Again: 
'Say, have you considered what provision God has sent down to you and 
you have made some of it taboo and some of it permitted ? Say, has God 
given you permission or do you invent lies against God?' 3 And again: 'Of 
the sheep two and of the goats two. Say, has He prohibited the two males 
or the two females, or what the wombs of the two females contain ? Inform 
me with knowledge if you speak the truth. And of the camels two and of 
the cattle two. Say, has He prohibited to you the two males or the two 
females, or that which the wombs of the two females contain, or were you 
witnesses when God enjoined this upon you ? Who is more sinful than 
those who invent a lie against God to make men err without knowledge ? 
Verily God will not guide the wrong-doing people' (80). 4 


Khuza'a say: We are the sons of 'Amr b. 'Amir from the Yaman (81). 

60 Mudrika b. al-Ya's had two sons, Khuzayma and Hudhayl, their mother 
being a woman of QudS'a. Khuzayma had four sons : Kinana, Asad, Asada, 
and al-Hun. Kin3na's mother was 'Uwana d. Sa'd b. Qays b. 'Aylan b. 
Mudar (82). 

1 Sura 5. 102. 
4 Sura 6. 144. 5. 

2 Sura 6. 140. J Sura 10. 60. 

5 Carrying on from p. 50 of W.'s text. 

The Life of Muhammad 41 

Kinana had four sons: al-Nadr, Malik, 'Abdu Manat, and Milkan. 
Nadr's mother was Barra d. Murr b. Udd b. Tabikha b. al-Ya's b. Mudar; 
the other sons were by another woman (83). 

It is said that Quraysh got their name from their gathering together after 61 
they had been separated, for gathering together may be expressed by 
taqarrush. 1 

Al-Nadr b. Kinana had two sons, Malik and Yakhlud. Malik's mother 
was 'Atika d. 'Adwan b. 'Amr b. Qays b. 'Aylan, but I do not know whether 
she was Yakhlud's mother or not (84). 

Malik b. al-Nadr begat Fihr b. Malik, his mother being Jandala d. 
al-Harith b. Mud5d al-Jurhumi (85). (T. There was war between Fihr T- 
and Hassan b. 'Abdu Kalal b. Mathub Dhu Hurath al-Himyarl who had 
come from the Yaman with the tribesmen meaning to take back to Yaman 
the stones of the Ka'ba so as to divert the pilgrimage to the Yaman. He 
got as far as Nakhla, raided cattle, and closed the roads, but he was afraid 
to enter Mecca. When Quraysh, Kinana, Khuzayma, Asad, and Judham 
and other unknown elements of Mudar perceived this they marched against 
them under the leadership of Fihr b. Malik. A sharp engagement followed 
in which Himyar were defeated and Hassan was taken prisoner by Fihr's 
son al-Harith. Among those killed in battle was his grandson Qays b. 
Ghalib b. Fihr. Hassan remained a prisoner for two years until he paid his 
ransom. He was then released and died on the way to the Yaman.) 

Fihr begat four sons: Ghalib, Muharib, al-Barith r and Asad, their 
mother being Layla d. Sad b. Hudhayl b. Mudrika (86). 

Ghalib b. Fihr had two sons, Lu'ayy and Taym, their mother being 6z 
Salma d. 'Amr al-Khuza'L Taym were called the Banu'l-Adram (87). 

Lu'ayy b. Ghalib had four "sons: Ka'b, 'Amir, Sama, and 'Auf; the 
mother of the first three was Mawiya d. Ka'b b. al-Qayn b. Jasr of Qudaa 


Sama b. Lu'ayy went forth to 'Uman and remained there. It is said that 
'Amir b. Lu'ayy drove him out because there was a quarrel between them 
and Sama knocked out 'Amir's eye. In fear of 'Amir he went to 'Uman. 
The story goes that while Sama was riding on his she-camel she lowered 

« The text is at fault somewhere. I.I.'s comment follows naturally on what has gone 
before, but has nothing to do with what he is last reported as having written. The signifi- 
cant words are 'al-Nadr is Quraysh'; but these are attributed to I.H. and nerther W. nor C. 
make any mention of a variant reading qdla bmi Ithaq. We can at least be certain that what 
I.I. had to tell us about the origin of 'Quraysh' is not to be found in the Sira as it stands, 
though Tab. makes another attempt in his quotation from the lost passages of I.I. They 
were named after Quraysh b. Badr b. Yakhlud b. al-Harith b. Yakhlud b. al-Nadr b. Kinana 
who was called Quraysh because he put to shame the B. al-Nadr. Whenever they appeared 
the Arabs said, 'The shame of Quraysh has come.' T- goes on (1104) to give the right 
explanation that the name means 'shark'. Doubtless it is a totem name like so many of the 
old tribal names in Arabia. 

42 The Life of Muhammad 

her head to graze and a snake seized her by the lip and forced her down- 
wards until she fell on her side. Then the snake bit Sama so that he died. 
The story goes that when Sama felt death upon him he said: 

Eye, weep for Sama b. Lu'ayy. 

The clinging snake has clung to Sama's leg. 1 

Never have I seen such a victim of a camel 

As Sama b. Lu'ayy when they came upon him. 

Send word to 'Amir and Ka'b, 

That my soul yearneth for them. 

Though my home be in 'Uman 

I am a GhalibI, I came forth not driven by poverty. 

Many a cup hast thou spilt, O b. Lu'ayy, 

For fear of death, which otherwise would not have been spilt. 

Thou didst wish to avoid death, O b. Lu'ayy, 

But none has power to avoid death. 

Many a camel silent on night journeys didst thou leave prostrate 2 
After its prodigious exertion (89). 


It is alleged that 'Auf b. Lu'ayy went out with a caravan of Quraysh as far 
as the district of Ghatafan b. Sa'd b. Qays b. 'Aylan when he was left 
behind and his tribesmen went on without him. Tha'laba b. Sa'd (he 
64 being his brother according to the kindred reckoning of B. Dhubyan, 
Tha'laba b. Sa'd b. Dhubyan b. Baghld b. Rayth b. Ghatafan and 'Auf b. 
Sa'd b. Dhubyan b. Baghid b. Rayth b. Ghatafan) came to him, bound him 
to himself, gave him a wife, and took him into his tribe as a blood-brother. 
His relationship became well known among B. Dhubyan. It was Tha'laba, 
they say, who said to 'Auf when he lagged behind and his tribe abandoned 

Tether your camel by me, O Ibn Lu'ayy. 
Your tribe has left you and you have no home. 3 

Muhammad b. Ja'far b. al-Zubayr, or it may have been Muhammad b. 
'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Abdullah b. Husayn, told me that 'Ulnar b. al-Khattab 
said: 'If I were to claim to belong to any tribe of the Arabs or to want to 
attach them to us I would claim to belong to B. Murra b. 'Auf. We know- 
that among them there are men like ourselves. We know, too, where that 
man went,' meaning 'Auf b. Lu'ayy. In the genealogy of Ghatafan he is 

1 So C. following al-Aghani. 

2 The dour, plodding beast that treads on through the night without uttering a sound. 

1 Reading manzil with Tab. and MS. D in W.'s numeration. This is the best MS. used 
by W., and it is strange that he should have abandoned it for the reading matrak 'ought not 
to be left' of the majority of inferior texts. However, the latter is supported by Mufa44> 
p. 101. 

The Life of Muhammad 43 

Nurra b. 'Auf b. Sad b. Dhubyan b. Baghid b. Rayth b. Ghatafan. If this 
genealogy is mentioned to them they themselves say, 'We do not deny or 
contest it ; it is our most prized genealogy.' 

Al-Harith b. Zalim b. Jadhlma b. Yarbu'— one of B. Murra b. 'Auf— 
when he fled from al-Nu'man b. al-Mundhir and clave to Quraysh said: 

My tribe is not Tha'laba b. Sa'd 

Nor Fazara the long-haired. 

My tribe if you must ask is the Banu Lu'ayy. 

In Mecca they taught Mudar to fight. 

We were foolish in following the Banu Baghid 

And leaving our next-of-kin and family. 

'Twas the folly of the water-seeker who, his fill drunk, 

Throws away the water and goes after a mirage. 

'Od's life if I had my way I should be with them 

And not be found seeking pasture from place to place. 

Rawaha the Qurayshite mounted me on his camel 

And sought no reward for it (90). 

Al-Husayn b. al-Humam al-Murrl, one of B. Sahm b. Murra, said, 65 
refuting al-Harith b. Zalim and claiming to belong to Ghatafan: 

Lo, you are not of us and we have nought to do with you. 
We repudiate relationship with Lu'ayy b. Ghalib. 
We dwell on the proud heights of al-Hijaz while you 
Are in the verdant 1 plain between the two mountains, 

meaning Quraysh. Afterwards al-Husayn repented of what he had said 
and recognized the truth of the words of al-Harith b. Z§lim. He claimed 
to belong to Quraysh and, accusing himself of falsehood, he said: 

I repent of what I said before : 

I realize that it was the speech of a liar. 

Would that my tongue were in two, 

Half of it dumb and the other half singing your praise.* 

Our father a KinanI, in Mecca is his grave, 

In the verdant 1 plain of al-Batha' between the mountains. 

We own a fourth of the sanctuary as an inheritance 

And a fourth of the plains by the house of Ibn Hatib, 

meaning that the B. Lu'ayy were four: Ka'b, 'Amir, Sama, and 'Auf. 

A person whom I cannot suspect told me that 'Umar b. al-Khattab said 
to men of B. Murra: 'If you wish to return to your kindred do so.' 3 

The tribe were nobles among Ghatafan; they were their chiefs and 

1 Or 'contested'. 1 Lit. 'in the course of the stars'. 

s The importance of the genealogical tables is bound up with the control of pay and 
pensions. It was 'Umar who ordered that registers should be compiled. See Sprenger, 
Das Leben d. Mohammad, III, cxx ff. 

44 The Life of Muhammad 

leaders. Of them were Harim b. Sinan b. Abu Haritha b. Murra b. Nush- 
ba; Kharija b. Sinan b. Abu Haritha; al-Harith b. 'Auf; al-Husayn b. al- 
Humam; and Hashim b. Harmala of whom someone has said: 

Hashim b. Harmala revived his father 1 

On the day of al-Haba 5t and the day of al-Ya*mala 2 

You could see the kings slain beside him 

As he slew the guilty and the innocent (91). 3 

They were a people of a lively reputation among Ghatafan and Qays, 
and they retained their relationship with them. Among them the practice 
of Basl obtained. 4 

66 According to reports Basl is the name given to eight months of the year 
which the Arabs unreservedly regard as sacred. During those months they 
may go wherever they like without fear of violence. Zuhayr b. Abu Sulma 
said with reference to B. Murra (92): 

Think! If they are not in al-Marurat in their dwellings 

Then they will be in Nakhl, s 

A place where I have enjoyed their fellowship. 

If they are in neither then they will be at large during the Basl. 

He means that they will be travelling during the holy period. 
al-A'sha of B. Qays b. Tha'laba said: 6 

Is your woman guest to be taboo to us 

While our woman guest and her husband are open to you ? 

67 Ka'b b. Lu'ayy had three sons: Murra, 'AdTy, and Husays, their mother 
being Wahshiya d. Shayban b. Muharib b. Fihr b. Malik b. Nadr. 

Murra b. Ka'b had three sons: Kilab, Taym, and Yaqaza. Kilab's 
mother was Hind d. Surayr b. Tha'laba b. al-Harith b. Fihr b. Malik b. 
al-Nadr b. Kinana b. Khuzayma; Yaqaza's mother was al-Bariqiya, a 
woman of Bariq of the Asd of Yaman. Some say she was the mother of 
Taym; others say Taym's mother was Hind d. Surayr the mother of 
Kilab (93). 

Kilab b. Murra had two sons : Qusayy and Zuhra, their mother being 
Fatima d. Sa'd b. Sayal one of B. Jadara of Ju'thuma of al-Azd of Yaman 
allies of B. Dil b. Bakr b. 'Abdu Manat b. Kinana (94). 

68 Of Sa'd b. Sayal the poet says: 

Never among men whom we know have we seen 
A man like Sa'd b. Sayal. 

1 He brought him to life as it were by taking revenge on his slayers. 

2 Two famous battles. 3 i.e. he was not afraid of incurring a blood feud. 

4 I have removed the chapter heading 'The Basl' because it is a mere paragraph interpo- 
lated in the genealogy which has no heading to indicate where it is resumed. 

5 Either a place in Nejd, belonging to Ghatafan, or a place two nights' journey from 
Medina. Sharh Diudn Zuhayr, Cairo, 1944, 100. 

6 ed. Geyer, p. 123, 1. 14. 

The Life of Muhammad 


Weapon in either hand full of vigour he rode 

Dismounting to fight the dismounted on foot ; 

Charging he carried the enemy's horsemen with him 

As the swooping hawk carries the partridge in its claws (95). 

Qusayy b. Kilab had four sons and two daughters: 'Abdu Manaf, 
'Abdu'l-Dar, 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, and 'Abdu Qusayy; and Takhmur and Barra. 
Their mother was Hubba d. Hulayl b. Habashiya b. Salul b. Ka'b b. 
'Amr al-Khuza'I (96). 

'Abdu Manaf whose name was al-Mughira b. Qusayy had four sons: 
Hashim, 'Abdu Shams, al-Muttalib, their mother being 'Atika d. Murra b. 
Hilal b. Falij b. Dhakwan b. Tha'laba b. Buhtha b. Sulaym b. Mansur b. 
'Ikrima; and Naufal, whose mother was Waqida d. *Amr al-Mazinlya, i.e. 
Mazin b. Mansur b. 'Ikrima (97). 


While 'Abdu'l-Muttalib was sleeping in the sacred enclosure he had a 
vision in which he was ordered to dig Zamzam which is a depression 
between the two idols of Quraysh, Isaf and Na'ila, at the slaughter-place of 
Quraysh. Jurhum had filled it in at the time they left Mecca. It is the 
well of Ishmael the son of Abraham where God gave him water when he 
was thirsty as a little child. His mother went to seek water for him and 
could not find it, so she went up to al-Safa praying to God and imploring 
aid for Ishmael ; then she went to al-Marwa and did the same. God sent 
Gabriel, who hollowed out a place in the earth with his heel where water 
appeared. His mother heard the cries of wild beasts which terrified her on 
his account, and she came hurrying towards him and found him scrabbling 
with his hand at the water beneath his cheek the while he drank, and she 
made him a small hole. 1 


The story of Jurhum, of their filling in Zamzam, of their leaving Mecca, 
and of those who ruled Mecca after them until 'Abdu'l-Muttalib dug Zam- 
zam, according to what Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'i told me on the 
authority of Muhammed b. Ishaq al-Muttalibi, is that when Ishmael the 
son of Abraham died, his son Nabit was in charge of the temple as long as 
God willed, then it was in charge of Mudad b. 'Amr al-Jurhumi (98). The 
sons of Ishmael and the sons of Nabit were with their grandfather Mudad 
b. 'Amr and their maternal uncles of Jurhum— Jurhum and Qatura' who 
were cousins being at that time the people of Mecca. They had come forth 
from the Yaman and travelled together and Mudad was over Jurhum and 

1 The narrative is continued on p. 91. 

46 The Life of Muhammad 

Samayda', one of their men, over Qatura'. When they left the Yaman, they 
refused to go unless they had a king to order their affairs. When they came 

72 to Mecca they saw a town blessed w ith water and trees and, delighted with 
it, they settled there. Mudad b. 'Amr with the men of Jurhum settled in 
the upper part of Mecca in Qu'ayqi'an and went no farther. Samayda' 
with Qatura' settled in the lower part of Mecca in Ajyad the lower part of 
Mecca, and went no farther. Mudad used to take a tithe from those who 
entered Mecca from above, while Samayda' did the same to those who 
entered from below. Each kept to his own people, neither entering the 
other's territory. 

Then Jurhum and Qatura' quarrelled and contended for the supremacy 
in Mecca ; at that time Mudad had with him the sons of Ishmael and Nabit, 
and he had the oversight of the temple as against Samayda'. They went out 
to fight each other, Mudad from Qu'ayqi'an with his horsemen making for 
Samayda' equipped with spears, leather shields, swords and quivers, 
rattling as they charged. It is said that Qu'ayqi'an was so named for that 
reason. Samayda' went out from Ajyad with horse and foot, and it is said 
Ajyad got its name from the fine horses (jiydd) that formed Samayda's 
cavalry. 1 The two parties met in Fadih, and after a severe battle Samayda' 
was killed and Qatura' humiliated. It is said that the name Fadih was given 
for this reason. Then the people clamoured for peace and went on until 
they reached al-Matabikh, a ravine above Mecca; there they made peace 
and surrendered authority to Mudad. When he was in power and held 
sovereignty he slaughtered beasts for the people and gave them as food. 
The people cooked and ate, and that is why the place is called Matabikh. 
Some learned people allege that the name was given because Tubba' had 
slaughtered there and given the food away and it was his base. The dispute 
between Mudad and Samayda' was the first open wrong committed in 
Mecca, at least so some allege. 

Then God multiplied the offspring of Ishmael in Mecca and their uncles 
from Jurhum were rulers of the temple and judges in Mecca. The sons of 
Ishmael did not dispute their authority because of their ties of kindred and 
their respect for the sanctuary lest there should be quarrelling or fighting 
therein. When Mecca became too confined for the sons of Ishmael they 
spread abroad in the land, and whenever they had to fight a people, God 
gave them the victory through their religion and they subdued them. 



Afterwards Jurhum behaved high-handedly in Mecca and made lawful 
that which was taboo. Those who entered the town who were not of their 
tribe they treated badly and they appropriated gifts which had been made 

1 The Cairo editors rightly reject this etymology: ajyad is the plural tdjU, neck. 

The Life of Muhammad 47 

to the Ka'ba so that their authority weakened. When B. Bakr b. 'Abdu 
Manat b. Kinana and Ghubshan of Khuza'a perceived that, they came 
together to do battle and drive them out of Mecca. War was declared and 
in the fighting B. Bakr and Ghubshan got the upper hand and expelled 
them from Mecca. Now in the time of paganism Mecca did not tolerate 
injustice and wrong within its borders and if anyone did wrong therein it 
expelled him; therefore it was called 'the Scorcher', 1 and any king who 
came to profane its sanctity died on the spot. It is said that it was called 
Bakka because it used to break 2 the necks of tyrants when they introduced 
innovations therein (99). 

'Amr b. al-Harith b. Mudad al-Jurhami brought out the two gazelles of 
the Ka'ba and the corner-stone and buried them in the well Zamzam, 
going away with the men of Jurhum to the Yaman. They were bitterly 
grieved at losing the kingship of Mecca, and the above-named 'Amr said : 

Many a woman crying bitterly, 

Her eyes swollen with weeping, said 

Tis as though between al-Hajun 3 and al-Safa there was 

No friend and none to beguile the night's long hours jn Mecca. 

I said to her, while my heart within me palpitated 

As though a bird fluttered between my ribs: 

'Of a surety we were its people, 

And grievous misfortunes have brought us to nought; 

We were the lords of the temple after Nabit, 

We used to go round the temple 

Our prosperity plain to see. 

We were in charge of the temple after Nabit in glory 74 
And the man of plenty did not count with us. 
We reigned in power, how great was our rule! 
No other tribe there could boast. 

Did you not marry a daughter to the best man I know ? 4 

His sons are ours, we being brothers by marriage.' 

If the world turned against us 

The world ever brings painful changes. 

God 5 drove us out by force; thus, O men, 

Does destiny pursue its way. 

I say when the carefree sleep, and I do not sleep, 

'Lord of the throne, let not Suhayl and 'Amir perish!' 

I was forced to look upon faces I do not like: 

The tribes of Himyar and Yuhabir. 

We became a legend after having been in prosperity. 

That is what the passing years did to us. 

1 al-Nassa. 1 From the verb bakka, he broke. 

3 A mountain above Mecca. * i.e. Ishmael. 

* al-malik presumably refers to the divine Kin«. 

4 g The Life of Muhammad 

The tears flow, weeping for a town 

Wherein is a sure sanctuary and the sacred places. 

Weeping for a temple whose doves unharmed, 

Dwell safely there, with flocks of sparrows. 

Wild creatures there are tame, unharried, 

But leaving its sanctuary are hunted freely (100). 

'Amr b. al-Harith, remembering Bakr and Ghubshan and the townsmen 
of Mecca whom they had left behind there, said also: 

Journey forth, O men ; the time will come 
When one day you will not be able to leave. 
Hasten your beasts and loosen their reins, 
Before death comes ; and do what you must do. 
We were men like you; fate changed us 
And you will be as we once were (101). 



Then Ghubshan of Khuza'a controlled the temple instead of B. Bakr b. 
'Abd Manat, the man who was controlling it being 'Amr b. al-Harith al- 
Ghubshanl. Quraysh at that time were in scattered settlements, and tents 1 
dispersed among their people, B. Kinana. So Khuza'a possessed the temple, 
passing it on from son to son until the last of them, Hulayl b. Habashiya b. 
Salul b. Ka'b b. 'Amr al-Khuza'I (102). 


Qusayy b. Kilab asked Hulayl b. Hubshiya for his daughter Hubba. Hulayl 
agreed and gave her to him and she bare him 'Abd al-Dar, 'Abd Manaf, 
Abdu'l-'Uzza, and 'Abd. By the time that the children of Qusayy had 
spread abroad and increased in wealth and reputation Hulayl died. Now 
Qusayy thought that he had a better claim than Khuza'a and B. Bakr to 
control the Ka'ba and Mecca, and that Quraysh were the noblest off- 
ering of Ishmael b. Abraham and the purest descendants of his sons. 
He spoke to Quraysh and B. Kinana asking them to drive out Khuza'a 
and B. Bakr from Mecca and they agreed to do so. 

Now Rabi'a b. Haram of 'Udhra b. Sa'd b. Zayd had come to Mecca 
after the death of Kilab and had married Fatima d. Sa'd b. Sayal. (Zuhra 

1 Or 'houses'. 

The Life of Muhammad 49 

at that time was a grown man and stayed behind, while Qusayy had just 
been weaned.) Rabi'a took Fatima away to his land and she carried Qusayy 
with her, and subsequently gave birth to Rizah. When Qusayy reached 
man's estate he came to Mecca and dwelt there. 

Thus it was that when his people asked him to join them in the war he 
wrote to his brother Rizah, who shared the same mother, asking him to 
come and support him. Thereupon Rizah set out accompanied by his half- 
brothers Hunn, MahmGd, and Julhuma, all sons of Rabi'a but not by 
Fatima, together with a number of Quda'a among the Arab pilgrims, having 76 
agreed to support Qusayy. 

Khuza'a allege that Hulayl b. Hubshiya had enjoined this on Qusayy 
when he saw how his daughter's children had multiplied, saying: 'You 
have a better right to the Ka'ba and to rule in Mecca than Khuza'a', so that 
this was the reason why Qusayy acted as he did. But this is a story which 
we have not heard from any other source, and only God knows the truth. 
(T. When the people had assembled in Mecca and gone to the mauqif, 
completed the hajj and come down to Mini, Qusayy assembled his posses- 
sions and his followers from his own tribe of Quraysh, the B. Kinana, and 
such of the Quda'a as were with him, there only remained the ceremony of 
dismissal.) 1 

al-ghauth's authority over men on pilgrimage 

Al-Ghauth b. Murr b. Udd b. al-Ya*s b. Mudar used to give permission 2 
to men on pilgrimage to leave 'Arafa, and this function descended to his 
children after him. He and his sons used to be called Sufa. 3 Al-Ghauth 
used to exercise this function because his mother was a woman of Jurhum 
who had been barren and vowed to Allah that if she bore a son she would 
give him to the Ka'ba as a slave to serve it and to look after it. In course of 
time she gave birth to al-Ghauth and he used to look after the Ka'ba in 
early times with his Jurhum uncles and presided over the order of departure 
from 'Arafa because of the office which he held in the Ka'ba. His sons 
carried on the practice until they were cut off. 

• T. 1095. i*-«5- The narrative goes on with the words: 'SOfa used to send the people 
away'— W. 76. VJ. 

2 'It seems possible that the Ijdza or "permission", i.e. the word of command that termi- 
nates the wocuf, was originally the permission to fall upon the slaughtered victims. In the 
Meccan pilgrimage the Ijdza which terminated the tvocuf at 'Arafa was the signal for a hot 
race to the neighbouring sanctuary of Mozdalifa, where the sacred fire of the god Cozab 
burned j it was, in fact, not so much the permission to leave 'Arafa as to draw near to Cozab- 
The race itself is called Ifdja, which may mean "dispersion" or "distribution". It cannot well 
mean the former, for 'Arafa is not holy ground, but merely the point of assemblage just 
outside the Haram at which the ceremonies began, and the station at 'Arafa is only the 
preparation for the vigil at Mozdalifa. On the other hand, if the meaning is "distribution" 
the Jfdja answers to the rush of Nilus's Saracens to partake of the sacrifice.' W.R.S., R.S. 
341 f. Cf. Wellh. 8a; Gaudefroy-Demombynes, 260. 

1 The meaning of this name is obscure. 

B 4080 E 

50 The Life of Muhammad 

Murr b. Udd, referring to the fulfilment of the mother's oath, said: 

O Lord, I have made one of my sons 

A devotee in Mecca the exalted. 

So bless me for the vow fulfilled, 

And make him the best of creatures to my credit. 

Al-Ghauth, so they allege, used to say when he sent the people away: 
O God I am following the example of others. 

Yahya b. 'Abbad b. 'Abdullah b. al-Zubayr from his father 'Abbad said: 
Sufa used to send the people away from 'Arafa and give them permission 
to depart when they left Mina. When the day of departure arrived they 
used to come to throw pebbles, and a man of Sufa used to throw for the 
men, none throwing until he had thrown. Those who had urgent business 
77 used to come and say to him : 'Get up and throw so that we may throw with 
you,* and he would say, 'No, by God, not until the sun goes down'; and 
those who wanted to leave quickly used to throw stones at him to hurry 
him, saying, 'Confound you, get up and throw.' But he refused until the 
sun went down and then he would get up and throw while the men threw 
stones with him. 

When they had finished the stoning and wanted to leave Mina, Sufa held 
both sides of the hill and kept the men back. They said : 'Give the order to 
depart, Sufa.' No one left until they had gone first. When Sufa left and 
had passed on, men were left to go their own way and followed them. This 
was the practice until they were cut off. After them the next of kin in- 
herited. They were of B. Sad in the family of Safwan b. al-Harith b. 
Shijna (103). It was Safwan who gave permission to the pilgrims to depart 
from 'Arafa, and this right was maintained by them up to Islam, the last 
being Karib b. Safwan. 

Aus b. Tamlm b. Maghra' al-Sa'dl said: 

The pilgrims do not quit their halting-place at 'Arafa 
Until it is said, 'Give permission O family of Safwan.' 

'adwan and the departure ceremony at 

Hurthan b. 'Amr the 'Adwanite who was called Dhu'l-Isba' because he 
had a finger missing said: 

Bring an excuse for the tribe of 'Adwan.' 
They were the serpents of the earth. 2 

1 i.e. 'for what they have done the one to the other'. They were rent by civil w»r. See 
Caussin de Perceval, Essai sur Vhistoire des Arubes, ii. 262. 
a i.e. 'cunning and treacherous'. 

The Life of Muhammad 51 

Some acted unlawfully against others 

And some spared not others. 

Some of them were princes 

Who faithfully met their obligations. 

Some used to give men the parting signal 

By custom and divine command. 

Of them was a judge who gave decisions 

And his verdict was never annulled. 

Since the permission to depart from Muzdalifa was with 'Adwan, as 
Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'i told me on the authority of Muhammad b. 
Ishaq, they used to pass it on from father to son until the last of them when 
Islam came, Abu Sayyara 'Umayla b. al-A'zal, about whom a certain poet 

Wc have defended Abu Sayyara 

And his clients the Banu Fazara 

Until he made his ass pass through safely 

As he faced Mecca praying to its Guardian. 

Abu Sayyara used to send away the people while sitting upon a she ass of 
his; that is why he says 'making his ass pass safely'. 1 

'Amir b. zarib b. 'amr b.'iyadh b. yashkur b. 'adwan 

His words 'a judge who gave decisions' refers to the above-named. The 
Arabs used to refer every serious and difficult case to him for decision and 
would accept his verdict. Once it happened that a case in dispute in 
reference to a hermaphrodite was brought to him. They said, 'Are we to 
treat it as a man or a woman ?' They had never brought him such a difficult 
matter before, so he said, 'Wait awhile until I have looked into the matter, 
for by Allah you have never brought me a question like this before.' So 
they agreed to wait, and he passed a sleepless night turning the matter over 
and looking at it from all sides without any result. Now he had a slave-girl 
Sukhayla who used to pasture his flock. It was his habit to tease her when 
she went out in the morning by saying sarcastically, 'You're early this 
morning, Sukhayla' ; and when she returned at night he would say, 'You're 
late to-night, Sukhayla,' because she had gone out late in the morning and 
come back late in the evening after the others. Now when this girl saw that 
he could not sleep and tossed about on his bed she asked what his trouble 
was. 'Get out and leave me alone, for it is none of your business,' he 
retorted. However, she was so persistent that he said to himself that it 
might be that she would provide him with some solution of his problem, so 
he said: 'Well then, I was asked to adjudicate on the inheritance of a 

1 In this section the work of I.I. and I.H. are not clearly distinguished. Probably the 
*** P°*m comes from the former and the comments from the latter. 

52 The Life of Muhammad 

79 hermaphrodite. Am I to make him a man or a woman ?' By God I do not 
know what to do and I can see no way out.* She said, 'Good God, merely 
follow the course of the urinatory process.' 'Be as late as you please hence- 
forth, Sukhayla; you have solved my problem,' said he. Then in the morn- 
ing he went out to the people and gave his decision in the way she had 


In that year Sufa behaved as they were accustomed. The Arabs had borne 
them patientiy since they felt it a duty in the time of Jurhum and khuza a 
when they were in authority. Qusayy came to them with his tribesmen 
from Quraysh and Kinana and Quda'a at al-'Aqaba saying, 'We have a 
better right to this authority than you.' (T- They disputed one with 
another and they tried to kill him.) Severe righting followed resulting m 
the defeat of Sufa, and Qusayy assumed their authority. 

Thereupon 'Khuza'a and B. Bakr withdrew from Qusayy knowing that 
he would impose the same restrictions on them as Sufa had done and that 
he would come between them and the Ka'ba and the rule of Mecca. W hen 
they had withdrawn, Qusavy showed his hostility and gathered his forces to 
fight them. (T. His brother Rizah b. Rabl'a with his men from Quda a 
stood with him.) Khuza a and B. Bakr came out against him and a severe 
battle took place in the valley of Mecca and both parties suffered heavily 
Thereupon they agreed to make peace and that one of the Arabs should 
arbitrate between them. They appointed as umpire Yamar b. Aut b. 
Ka'b b 'Amir b. Layth b. Bakr b. *Abdu Manat b. Kinana. His verdict 
was that Qusayy had a better claim to the Ka'ba and to rule Mecca than 
Khuza'a and that all blood shed by Qusayy was to be cancelled and com- 
80 pensation disregarded, but Khuza'a and B. Bakr must pay bloodwit for the 
men of Quraysh, Kinana, and Quda'a whom they had killed and that 
Qusayy should be given a free hand with the Ka'ba and Mecca. Ya mar b. 
'Auf was immediately called al-Shaddakh because he had cancelled the 
claim to bloodwit and remitted it (104). 

Thus Qusayy gained authority over the temple and Mecca and brought 
in his people from their dwellings to Mecca. He behaved as a king over 
his tribe and the people of Mecca, and so they made him king; but he 
had guaranteed to the Arabs their customary rights because he telt 
that it was a duty upon himself which he had not the right to alter. Thus 
he confirmed the family of Safwan and 'Adwan and the intercalators and 
Murra b. 'Auf in their customary rights which obtained until the coming 
of Islam when God put an end thereby to them all. Qusayy was the first of 

" The point was important because a male received double as much as a female. 

The Life of Muhammad 


B. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy to assume kingship and to be obeyed by his people as 
king. He held the keys of the temple, the right to water the pilgrims from 
the well of Zamzam, to feed the pilgrims, to preside at assemblies, and to 
hand out the war banners. In his hands lay all the dignities of Mecca ; he 
divided the town into quarters among his people and he settled all the 
Quraysh into their houses in Mecca which they held. 

People assert that the Quraysh were afraid to cut down the trees of the 
sanctuary in their quarters, but Qusayy cut them down with his own hand 
or through his assistants. Quraysh called him the 'uniter' because he had 
brought them together and they drew a happy omen from his rule. So far 
as Quraysh were concerned no woman was given in marriage, no man 
married, no discussion about public affairs was held, and no banner 
of war was entrusted to anyone except in his house, where one of his sons 
would hand it over. When a girl reached marriageable age she had to come 
to his house to put on her shift. The shift was split over her head in his 
house, then she put it on and was taken away to her people. 1 His authority 
among the Quraysh during his life and after his death was like a religious 
law which could not be infringed. He chose for himself the house of meet- 
ing and made a door which led to the mosque of the Ka'ba; in it the 
Quraysh used to settle their affairs (105). 

'Abdu'l-Malik b. Rashid told me that his father said that he heard al- 
Sa'ib b. Khabbab, author of al-Maq$ura, reporting that he heard a man 81 
telling *Umar b. al-Khattab when he was caliph the story of Qusayy, how 
he united Quraysh and expelled Khuzi'a and B. Bakr from Mecca, and 
how he gained control of the temple and the affairs of Mecca. Umar made 
no attempt to gainsay him. (T. Qusayy's authority in Mecca, where he 
enjoyed great esteem, remained uncontested. He left the pilgrimage un- 
changed because he deemed it a religious taboo. The Sufa continued, 
until they were cut off, in the family of Safwan b. al-Harith b. Shijna by 
right of inheritance. 'Adwan, the Nas'a of B. Malik b. Kinana, and Murra 
b. 'Auf continued as before until Islam came and God destroyed all these 

When Qusayy's war was over his brother Rizah b. Rabl'a went away to 
his own land with his countrymen. Concerning his response to Qusayy he 
composed the following poem: 

When a messenger came from Qusayy 

And said 'Respond to your friend's request,' 

We sprang to his aid leading our horses, 

Casting from us the half-hearted and slow-moving. 

We rode all night until the dawn 

Hiding ourselves by day lest we should be attacked. 

Our steeds were swift as grouse hurrying to water 

Bringing our answer to the call of Qusayy. 

1 The dir was a large piece of cloth. Normally a woman cuts an opening through which 
•he can put her head. She then adds sleeves and sews up the two sides. 

54 * The Life of Muhammad 

We collected tribesmen from Sirr and the two Ashmadhs 1 
From every tribe a clan. 
What a fine force of cavalry that night, 
More than a thousand, swift, smooth-paced! 
When they passcel by al-'Asjad 
And took the easy road from Mustanakh 
And passed by the edge of Wariqan 
And passed by al-'Arj, a tribe encamped there, 
They passed by the thornbushes without cropping them, 2 
Running hard the livelong night from Marr. 
We brought the colts near their mothers 
That their neighing might be gentle, 
And when we came to Mecca we 
Subdued the men tribe by tribe. 
We smote them there with the edge of the sword 
And with every stroke we deprived them of their wits. 
We trod them down with our horses' hooves 
As the strong tread down the weak and helpless. 
We killed Khuza a in their homeland 
And Bakr we killed group by group. 
We drove them from God's land, 
We would not let them possess a fertile country. 
We kept them bound in iron fetters. 3 
On every tribe we quenched our vengeance. 

82 Tha'laba b. 'Abdullah b. Dhubyan b. al-Harith b. Sa'd Hudhaym 
Quda'i said concerning Qusayy's invitation and their response: 

We urged on our slender high-stepping horses 
From the sandhills, the sandhills of al-Jinab 
To the lowlands of Tihama, and we met our foe 
In a barren depression of a desert. 
As for Sufa the effeminate, 

They forsook their dwellings in fear of the sword. 

But the sons of 'All when they saw us 

Leaped to their swords like camels that yearn for home. 

Qusayy b. Kilab said : 

I am the son of the protectors, the B. Lu'ayy, 
In Mecca is my home where I grew up. 

1 It is disputed whether these are two tribes or two mountains between Medina and 

a The reading is uncertain; 'they passed by water without tasting if, as some MSS. pro- 
pose, is improbable. 

* It seems improbable that such a rare and valuable metal would be used for such a pur- 
pose at thi* date. 

The Life of Muhammad 


Mine is 1 the valley as Ma'add knows, 

Its Marwa I delight in. 

I should not have conquered had not 

The sons of Qaydhar and Nablt settled there. 

Rizah was my helper and through him I am great, 

I fear no injustice as long as I live. 

When Rizah was established in his country God increased him and 
Hunn in numbers. (They are the two tribes of 'Udhra today.) Now when 
he came to his country there had been a matter in dispute between Rizah 
on the one hand and Nahd b. Zayd and Hautaka b. Aslum on the other, 
they being two clans of Quda'a. He put them in fear so that they clave to 
the Yaman and left the Quda'a country and remain in the Yaman to this 
day. Now Qusayy was well disposed to Quda'a and wanted them to in- 
crease and be united in their land because of his kinship with Rizah and 
because of their goodwill to him when they responded to his appeal for 
help. He disliked what Rizah had done to them and said: 

Who will tell Rizah from me 

That I blame him on two accounts, 

1 blame you for the Banu Nahd b. Zayd 

Because you drove a wedge between them and me, 

And for Hautaka b. Aslum ; of a truth 

He who treats them badly has badly treated me (106). 83 

When Qusayy grew old and feeble, he spoke to 'Abdu'l-Dar. He was 
his first born but (T. they say he was weak) 'Abdu Manaf had become 
famous during his father's lifetime and done all that had to be done along 
with 'Abdu'l-'Uzza and ' Abd. He said : ' By God, my son I will put you on a 
par with the others ; though they have a greater reputation than yours ; none 
of them shall enter the Ka'ba until you open it for them ; none shall give 
the Quraysh the war banner but you with your own hand ; none shall drink 
in Mecca except you allow it ; and no pilgrim shall eat food unless you 
provide it ; and Quravsh shall not decide any matter except in your house.' 
He gave him his house, it being the only place where Quraysh could settle 
their affairs, and he gave him the formal rights mentioned above. 

The Rifdda was a tax which Quraysh used to pay from their property to 
Qusayy at every festival. With it he used to provide food for the pilgrims 
who were unable to afford their own provisions. Qusayy had laid this as a 
duty upon Quraysh, saying: 'You are God's neighbours, the people of his 
temple and sanctuary. The pilgrims are God's guests and the visitors to 
His temple and have the highest claim on your generosity ; so provide food 
and drink for them during the pilgrimage until they depart out of your 
territory.' Accordingly they used to pay him every year a tax on their 
flocks and he used to provide food for the people therefrom, while thev 

1 Reading tea-li with Azr. i. 60 for 0& in I.I. 

5 6 The Life of Muhammad 

were at Mina, and his people carried out this order of his during the time 
of ignorance until Islam came. To this very day it is the food which the 
sultan provides every year in Mina until the pilgrimage is over. 

My father Ishaq b. Yasar from al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. 'AH b. Abu 
Talib told me about this affair of Qusayy's and what he said to 'Abdu'l-Dar 
concerning the transfer of his power to him in these words, 'I heard him 
saying this to a man of B. 'Abdu'l-Dar called Nubaih b. Wahb b. 'Amir b. 
8 4 'Ikrima b. 'Amir b. Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf b. 'Abdu'l-D5r b. Qusayy.' 
al-Hasan said: 'Qusayy gave him all the authority that he had over his 
people. Qusayy was never contradicted nor was any measure of his over- 


After the death of Qusayy his sons assumed his authority over the people 
and marked out Mecca in quarters, after he had allotted space there for his 
own tribe. They allotted quarters among their people and among other 
allies, and sold them. Quraysh took part in this with them without any 
discord or dispute. Then the sons of 'Abdu Manaf— 'Abdu Shams and 
Hashim and al-Muttalib and Naufal— agreed to seize the rights that the 
sons of 'Abdu'l-Dar possessed which Qusayy had given to 'Abdu'l-Dar 
himself, namely those mentioned above. They considered that they had a 
better right to them because of their superiority and their position among 
their people. This caused dissension among Quraysh, one section siding 
with B. 'Abdu Manaf, and the other with B. 'Abdu'l-Dar. The former 
held that the new claimants had a better right ; the latter that rights which 
Qusayy had given to one branch should not be taken away from them. 

The leader of B. 'Abdu Manaf was 'Abdu Shams, because he was the 
eldest son of his father; and the leader of B. 'Abdu'l-Dar was 'Amir b. 
Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf b. 'Abdu'l-Dar. The B. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. 
Qusayy and B. Zuhra b. Kilab and B. Taym b. Murra b. Ka'b and B. al- 
Harith b. Fihr b. Malik b. al-Nadr were with B. 'Abdu Manaf, while with 
B. 'Abdu'l-Dar were B. Makhzum b. Yaqaza b. Murra, and B. Sahm b. 
'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b and B. Jumah b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b and 
B. 'Adiyy b. Ka'b. The men who remained neutral were 'Amir b. Lu'ayy 
and Muharib. b. Fihr. 

They all made a firm agreement that they would not abandon one 
another and would not betray one another as long as the sea wetted sea- 
weed. The B. 'Abdu Man5f brought out a bowl full of scent (they assert 
that some of the women of the tribe brought it out to them) and they put 
it for their allies in the mosque 1 beside the Ka'ba; then they dipped their 
hands into it and they and their allies took a solemn oath. Then they 

' This is not an anachronism. See E.I., art. 'Masdjid'. 

The Life of Muhammad 57 

rubbed their hands on the Ka'ba strengthening the solemnity of the oath. 
For this reason they were called the Scented Ones. 

The other side took a similar oath at the Ka'ba and they were called the 
Confederates. Then the tribes formed groups and linked up one with 
another. The B. 'Abdu Manaf were ranged against B. Sahm; B. Asad 
against B. 'Abdu'l-Dar; Zuhra against B. Jumah; B. Taym against B. 
Makhzum; and B. al-Harith against 'Adiyy b. Ka'b. They ordered that 
each tribe should exterminate the opposing units. 

When the people had thus decided on war, suddenly they demanded 
peace on the condition that B. 'Abdu Manaf should be given the rights of 
watering the pilgrims and collecting the tax ; and that access to the Ka'ba, 
the standard of war, and the assembly house, should belong to the 'Abdu'l- 
Dar as before. The arrangement commended itself to both sides and was 
carried out, and so war was prevented. This was the state of affairs until 
God brought Islam, when the apostle of God said, 'Whatever alliance there 
was in the days of ignorance Islam strengthens it.' 


Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'i related to me the following as from Ibn 
Ishaq: The tribes of Quraysh decided to make a covenant and assembled 
for that purpose in the house of 'Abdullah b. Jud'an b. 'Amr b. Ka'b b. 
Sa'd b. Taym b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy because of his seniority and the 
high reputation he enjoyed. Those party to the agreement with him were 
B. Hashim, B. '1-Muttalib, Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, Zuhra b. Kilab, and 
Taym b. Murra. They bound themselves by a solemn agreement that if 
they found that anyone, either a native of Mecca or an outsider, had 86 
been wronged they would take his part against the aggressor and see that 
the stolen property was restored to him. Quraysh called that confederacy 
'The Confederacy of the FudGl'. 

Muhammad b. Zayd b. al-Muhajir b. Qunfudh al-Tayml told me that he 
heard Talha b. 'Abdullah b. *Auf al-Zuhri say: The apostle of God said, 
'I witnessed in the house of 'Abdullah b. Jud'an a covenant which I would 
not exchange for any number of fine camels: if I were invited to take part 
in it during Islam I should do so.' 

Yazld b. 'Abdullah b. Usama b. al-Hadi al-Laythi told me that Muham- 
mad b. Ibrahim b. al-Harith al-Tayml told him that there was a dispute 
between al-Husayn b. 'All b. Abu Talib and al-Walid b. 'Utba b. Abu 
Sufyan about some property they held in Dhii'l-Marwa. At that time al- 
Walid was governor of Medina, his uncle, Mu'awiya b. Abu Sufyan having 
given him the appointment. Al-Walid had defrauded al-Husayn of his 

1 Fudul is explained as meaning that the confederates did not allow wrongdoers to retain 
any stolen property. Fudul sometimes means 'remains of spoil'. Another and somewhat 
far-fetched explanation is that this covenant was modelled on an older covenant of the same 
character in which three men each with the name of Fadl took part. 

58 The Life of Muhammad 

rights, for as governor he had the power to do so. Husayn said to him: 'By 
God you shall do me justice or I will take my sword and stand in the 
apostle's mosque and invoke the confederacy of the Fudul!' 'Abdullah b. 
al-Zubayr who was with al-Walid at the time said: 'And I swear by God 
that if he invokes it I will take my sword and stand with him until he gets 
justice, or we will die together.' When the news reached al-Miswar b. 
Makhrama b. Naufal al-Zuhrl and 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Uthman b. 'Ubay- 
dullah al-Taymi they said the same. As soon as he realized what was hap- 
pening al-Walid gave al-Husayn satisfaction. 

This same Yazid, on the same authority, told me that Muhammad b. 
Jubayr b. Mut'im b. 'Adiyy b. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf, who was the most 
learned of the Quraysh, met 'Abdu'l-Malik b. Marwan b. al-Hakam when 
he had killed Ibn al-Zubayr and the people had gathered against 'Abdu'l- 
87 Malik. When he went in to see him he said : 'O Abu Sa'id, were not we and 
you — meaning B. 'Abdu Shams b. Abdu Manaf and B. Naufal b. 'Abdu 
Manaf — partners in the confederacy of the Fudul?' 'You should know- 
best,' he replied. 'Abdu'l-Malik said, 'No, you tell me, Abu Sa'id, the 
truth of the matter.' He answered: 'No, by God, you and we kept out of 
that!' 'You're right,' said 'Abdu'l-Malik. * 

Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf superintended the feeding 1 and watering of the 
pilgrims because 'Abdu Shams was a great traveller who was seldom to be 
found in Mecca; moreover he was a poor man with a large family, while 
Hashim was a well-to-do man. It is alleged that when the pilgrims were 
there he got up and addressed Quraysh thus: 'You are God's neighbours 
and the people of His temple. At this feast there come to you God's visitors 
and pilgrims to His temple. They are God's guests, and His guests have 
the best claim on your generosity; so get together what food they will need 
for the time they have to stay here. If my own means were sufficient I 
would not lay this burden upon you.' Thereupon they taxed themselves 
each man according to his capacity and used to provide food for the pil- 
grims until they left Mecca. 

It is alleged that Hashim was the first to institute the two caravan jour- 
neys of Quraysh, summer and winter, and the first to provide tharid (broth 
in which bread is broken up) in Mecca. Actually his name was 'Amr, but 
he was called Hashim because he broke up bread in this way for his people 
in Mecca. A Quraysh poet, or one of the Arabs, composed this poem: 

'Amr who made bread-and-broth for his people, 

A people in Mecca who suffered lean years. 

He it was who started the two journeys, 

The winter's caravan and the summer's train (107). 

Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf died in Ghazza in the land of Syria while 

1 The rifdda, feeding by means of a levy on Quraysh, has been explained above (p. 55) 
and there the author of the system is said to be Qusayy. Probably for this reason Ibn Ishaq 
discredits their tradition here by the words 'it is alleged'. 

The Life of Muhammad 59 

travelling with his merchandise, and al-Muttalib b. ' Abdu Manaf assumed 
the right of feeding and watering the pilgrims. He was younger than 'Abdu 
Shams and Hashim. He was held in high esteem among his people, who 88 
called him al-Fayd on account of his liberality and high character. 

Hashim had gone to Medina and married Salma d. 'Amr, one of B. 
'Adiyy b. al-Najjar. Before that she had been married to Uhayha b. al- 
Julah b. al-Harish b. Jahjaba b. Kulfa b. 'Auf b. 'Amr b. *Auf b. Malik b. 
al-Aus and bore him a son called 'Amr. On account of the high position 
she held among her people she would only marry on condition that she 
should retain control of her own affairs. If she disliked a man she left him. 

To Hashim she bore 'Abdu'l-Muttalib and called his name Shayba. 
Hashim left him with her while he was a little boy. Then his uncle al- 
Muttalib came to take him away and bring him up among his people in his 
town. But Salma declined to let him go with him. His uncle argued that 
his nephew was now old enough to travel and was as an exile away from 
his own tribe who were the people of the temple, of great local reputation, 
holding much of the government in their hands. Therefore it was better 
for the boy that he should be among his own family, and therefore he 
refused to go without him. It is popularly asserted that Shayba refused to 
leave his mother without her consent ; and this she ultimately gave. So his 
uncle took him away to Mecca, riding behind him on his camel, and the 
people cried : 'It's al-Muttalib's slave whom he has bought' and that is how 
he got the name of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib. His uncle called out: 'Rubbish! 
This is my nephew whom I have brought from Medina.' 

Subsequently al-Muttalib died in Radman in the Yaman, and an Arab 
mourned him in the following lines: 

Thirsty are the pilgrims now al-Mu{talib is gone. 

No more bowls with overflowing brims. 

Now that he is gone would that Quraysh were in torment! 

Matrud b. Ka'b al-Khuza'i wrote this elegy over al-Muttalib and all the 
sons of 'Abdu Manaf when the news came that Naufal the last of them was 

O night! most miserable night, 
Disturbing all other nights, 
With thoughts of what I suffer 
From sorrow and the blows of fate. 

When I remember my brother Naufal, 89 

He reminds me of days gone by, 

He reminds me of the red waist-sashes, 

The fine new yellow robes. 

There were four of them, everyone a prince, 

Sons and grandsons of princes. 

One dead in Radman, one in Salman, 

A third lies near Ghazza, 

6o The Life of Muhammad 

A fourth lies in a grave by the Ka'ba 
To the east of the sacred buildings. 
'Abdu Manaf brought them up v irtuously 
Safe from the reproof of all men. 
Yea there are none like Mughira's children 
Among the living or the dead. 

'Abdu Manaf 's name was al-Mughira. Hashim was the first of his sons to 
die at Ghazza in Syria, followed by 'Abdu Shams in Mecca, then al-Mufta- 
lib in Radman in the Yaman, and lastly Naufal in Salman in Iraq. 

It was said to Matrud — at least they assert so — 'Your lines are very good, 
but if you had done more justice to the theme they would have been still 
better.' 'Give me a night or two,' he replied, and after a few days he 
produced the following: 

O eye, weep copiously, pour down thy tears, 

Weep over Mughira's sons, that noble breed of Ka'b, 

O eye, cease not to weep thy gathering tears, 

Bewail my heartfelt sorrow in life's misfortunes. 

Weep over all those generous trustworthy men, 

Lavish in gifts, munificent, bounteous, 

Pure in soul, of high intent, 

Firm in disposition, resolute in grave affairs, 

Strong in emergency, no churls, not relying on others, 

Quick to decide, lavish in generosity. 

If Ka'b's line is reckoned, a hawk, 

The very heart and summit of their glory, 

Weep for generosity and Muttalib the generous, 

Release the fountain of thy tears, 

Gone from us in Radman today as a foreigner, 

My heart grieves for him among the dead. 

Woe to you, weep if you can weep, 

For 'Abdu Shams on the east of the Ka'ba, 

For Hashim in the grave in the midst of the desert 

Where the wind of Ghazza blows o'er his bones. 

Above all for my friend Naufal 

Who found in Salman a desert grave. 

Never have I known their like, Arab or foreigner, 

When their white camels bore them along. 

Now their camps know them no more 

Who used to be the glory of our troops. 

Has time annihilated them or were their swords blunt, 

Or is every living thing food for the Fates ? 

Since their death I have come to be satisfied 

With mere smiles and friendly greetings. 

Weep for the father of the women with dishevelled hair 

The Life of Muhammad 61 

Who weep for him with faces unveiled as camels doomed to die.' 

They mourn the noblest man who ever walked, 

Bewailing him with floods of tears. 

They mourn a man generous and liberal, 

Rejecting injustice, who settled the greatest matters. 

They weep for 'Amr al-'Ula 2 when his time came, 

Benign was his nature as he smiled at the night's guests. 

They weep prostrated by sorrow, 

How long was the lamentation and woe! 

They mourned him when time exiled them from him, 

Their faces pale like camels denied water. 

With their loins girded because of fate's hard blows. 

I passed the night in pain watching the stars 

I wept and my little daughters wept to share my grief. 

No prince is their equal or peer, 

Among those left behind none are like their offspring. 

Their sons are the best of sons, 

And they are the best of men in the face of disaster. 

How many a smooth running fast horse have they given, 

How many a captive mare have they bestowed, 

How many a fine mettled Indian sword, 

How many a lance as long as a well rope, 

How many slaves did they give for the asking, 

Lavishing their gifts far and wide. 

Were I to count and others count with me 

I could not exhaust their generous acts ; 

They are the foremost in pure descent 

Wherever men boast of their forbears, 

The ornament of the houses which they left 

So that they have become solitary and forsaken, 

I say while my eye ceases not to weep, 

May God spare the unfortunate (family)! (108) 

By the 'father of the women with dishevelled hair' the poet means 

Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf. 

Following his uncle al-Muttalib, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib b. Hash.m took over 
the duties of watering and feeding the pilgrims and carried on the practices 
of his forefathers with his people. He attained such eminence as none of 
his forefathers enjoyed ; his people loved him and his reputati. was great 
among them. 

I The word, 'camels doomed to die' refer to the she-camel which used to b< , tcthc.cJ ! by 
the grave of her dead master until she died of hunger and thirst. The heathen Arabs believed 
he would ride her in the next world. 

1 The lofty one.' 


The Life of Muhammad 


While Abdu'l-Muttalib was sleeping in the hijr, 1 he was ordered in a vision 
to dig Zamzam. Yazid b. Abu Habib al-Misri from Marthad b. 'Abdullah 
al-Yazanl from 'Abdullah b. Zurayr al-Ghafiqi told me that he heard 'All 
b. Abu Talib telling the story of Zamzam. He said that 'Abdu'l-Muttalib 
said: 'I was sleeping in the hijr when a supernatural visitant came and said, 
"DigTiba". I said "And what is Tlba?"; then he left me. I went to bed 
again the next day and slept, and he came to me and said "Dig Barra"; 
when I asked what Barra was he left me. The next day he came and said 
"Dig al-Madnuna" ; when I asked what that was he went away again. The 
next day he came while I was sleeping and said "Dig Zamzam". I said, 
"What is Zamzam?"; he said: 

'Twill never fail or ever run dry, 

'Twill water the pilgrim company. 

It lies 'twixt the dung and the flesh bloody, 2 

By the nest where the white-winged ravens fly, 

When the exact spot had been indicated to him and he knew that it corre- 
sponded with the facts, he took a pick-axe and went with his son al-HSrith 
—for the had no other son at that time— and began to dig. When the top 
of the well appeared he cried 'Allah akbar!' Thus Quraysh knew that he 
had obtained his object and they came to him and said, 'This is the well of 
our father Ishmael, and we have a right to it, so give us a share in it.' 'I 
will not,' he answered, 'I was specially told of it and not you, and I was the 
one to be given it.' They said: 'Do us justice, for we shall not leave you 
until we have got a judicial decision in the matter.' He said : 'Appoint 
anyone you like as umpire between us.' He agreed to accept a woman 
diviner of B. Sa'd Hudhaym, who dwelt in the uplands of Syria. So 

1 The hijr is the semicircular spot between the wall called Hatim and the Ka'ba, which 
is said to contain the graves of Hagar and Ishmael. Cf. Azpiqi, 28a f. 

1 The language is characteristic of Arabian oracles composed in doggerel known as Saj'. 
The words 'between the dung and the blood' occur in the Quran, Sura 16, verse 68. 'We 
give you to drink of what is in their bellies between the faeces and the blood, pure milk easily 
swallowed by the drinkers.' But this throws no light on the meaning of the passage here, 
which plainly has a local significance. Abu Dharr passed it by without comment. Al- 
Suhayli, p. 98, sees that the term must go with the two following terms, and serve to show 
exactly where Zamzam was to be found. He therefore repeats a story to the effect that 
'Abdu'l-Muttalib saw the ants' nest and the ravens' nest when he went to dig the well, but 
saw neither dung nor blood. At that moment a cow escaped her would-be butcher and 
entered the haram. There she was slaughtered, and where the dung and blood flowed, 
'Abdu'l-Muttalib proceeded to dig. This gallant attempt to explain the ancient oracle 
cannot be accepted for the reason that it gives no point to the precise reference that the 
well was to be found between the dung and the blood, which in this story obviously must 
have occupied pretty much the same space, and indeed would render the following indica- 
tions superfluous by giving the exact site. Most probably, therefore, we should assume that 
the sacrificial victims were tethered at a certain spot and there they would void ordure 
before they were led to the foot of the image at which they were slaughtered. A point 
between these two spots is more closely defined by the ants' and the ravens' neat. 

The Life of Muhammad 63 

'Abdu'l-Muttalib, accompanied by some of his relations and a representa- 
tive from all the tribes of Quraysh, rode away. They went on through 
desolate country between the Hijaz and Syria until 'Abdu'l-Mutfalib's 
company ran out of water and they feared that they would die of thirst. 
They asked the Quraysh tribes to give them water, but they refused, on 
the ground that if they gave them their water they too would die of thirst. 
In his desperation 'Abdu'l-Muttalib consulted his companions as to what 
should be done, but all they could do was to say that they would follow his 
instructions: so he said, 'I think that every man should dig a hcle for him- 
self with the strength that he has left so that whenever a man dies his com- 
panions can thrust him into the hole and bury him until the last man, for 
it is better that one man should lie unburied than a whole company.' They 
accepted his advice and every man began to dig a hole for himself. Then 
they sat down until they should die of thirst. After a time 'Abdu'l-Muttalib 
said to his companions, 'By God, to abandon ourselves to death in this 
way and not to scour the country in search of water is sheer incompetence ; 
perhaps God will give us water somewhere. To your saddles!' So they 
got their beasts ready while the Quraysh watched them at work. 'Abdu'l- 
Muttalib went to his beast and mounted her and when she got up from her 
knees a flow of fresh water broke out from beneath her feet. 'Abdu'l- 
Muttalib and his companions, crying 'Allah akbar!', dismounted and drank 
and filled their water-skins. Then they invited the Quraysh to come to the 
water which God had given them and to drink freely. After they had done 
so and filled their water-skins they said: 'By God, the judgement has been 
given in your favour 'Abdu'l-Muttalib. We will never dispute your claim 
to Zamzam. He who has given you water in this wilderness is He who has 
given you Zamzam. Return to your office of watering the pilgrims in 
peace.' So they all went back without going to the diviner. 

This is the story which I heard as from 'Ali b. Abu Talib about Zamzam 
and I have heard one report on 'Abdu'I-Muftalib's authority that when he 
was ordered to dig Zamzam it was said to him: 

Then pray for much water as crystal clear 

To water God's pilgrims at the sites they revere 

As long as it lasts you've nothing to fear. 

On hearing these words he went to the Quraysh and said, 'You know that 
I have been ordered to dig Zamzam for you,' and they asked, 'But have 
you been told where it is ?' When he replied that he had not, they told him 
to go back to his bed where he had the vision and if it really came from 
God it would be made plain to him; but if it had come from a demon, he 
would not return to him. So 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went back to his bed and 
slept and received the following message : 

Dig Zamzam, 'twill not to your hopes give lie, 
'Tis yqurs from your father eternally. 

64 The Life of Muhammad 

'Twill never fail or ever run dry, 

'Twill water the pilgrim company 

Like an ostrich flock a fraternity, 

Their voice God hears most graciously. 

A pact most sure from days gone by 

Nought like it canst thou descry, 

It lies 'twixt the dung and the flesh bloody (109).' 

It is alleged that when this was said to him and he inquired where Zamzam 
was, he was told that it was by the ants* nest where the raven will peck 
tomorrow, but God knows how true this is. The next day 'Abdu'l Mutta- 
lib with his son al-Harith, who at that time was his only son, went and 
found the ants' nest and the raven pecking beside it between the two idols 
Isaf and Na'ila at which Quraysh used to slaughter their sacrifices. He 
brought a pick-axe and began to dig where he had been commanded. 
Quraysh seeing him at work came up and refused to allow him to dig 
between their two idols where they sacrificed. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib then told 
his son to stand by and protect him while he dug, for he was determined 
to carry out what he had been commanded to do. When they saw that he 
was not going to stop work they left him severely alone. He had not dug 
deeply before the stone top of the well appeared and he gave thanks to 
God knowing that he had been rightly informed. As digging went further, 
he found the two gazelles of gold which Jurhum had buried there when 
they left Mecca. He also found some swords and coats of mail from Qal'a. 2 
Quraysh claimed that they had a right to share in this find. 'Abdu'l- 
Muftalib denied this, but was willing to submit the matter to the sacred 
lot. He said that he would make two arrows for the Ka'ba, two for them, 
and two for himself. The two arrows which came out from the quiver 
would determine to whom the property belonged. This was agreed, and 
accordingly he made two yellow arrows for the Ka'ba, two black ones for 
himself, and two white ones for Quraysh. They were then given to the 
priest in charge of the divinatory arrows, which were thrown beside Hubal. 
(Hubal was an image in the middle of the Ka'ba, indeed the greatest of 
their images. It is that referred to by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb at the battle of 
Uhud when he cried 'Arise Hubal', i.e. Make your religion victorious!) 
'Abdu'l-Muttalib began to pray to God, and when the priest threw the 
arrows the two yellow ones for the gazelles came out in favour of the Ka'ba. 
The two black ones allotted the swords and coats of mail to 'Abdu'l- 
Muttalib, and the two arrows of Quraysh remained behind. 'Abdu'l- 
Muttalib made the swords into a door for the Ka'ba and overlaid the door 
with the gold of the gazelles. This was the first golden ornament of the 
Ka'ba, at any rate so they allege. Then 'Abdu'l-Muttalib took charge of 
the supply of Zamzam water to the pilgrims. 

1 As these lines are in part identical with those mentioned above, clearly this is a rival 
account of the vision. 

2 A mountain in Syria, though other sites have been suggested. See Yaqut. 

The Life of Muhammad 




Before the digging of Zamzam Quraysh had already dug wells in Mecca, 95 
according to what Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'I told me from Muhammad 
b. Ishaq. He said that 'Abdu Shams b. 'Abdu Manaf dug al-TawTy which 
is a well in the upper part of Mecca near al-Bayda', the house of Muham- 
mad b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi. 

Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf dug Badhdhar which is near al-Mustandhar, a 
spur of Mount al-Khandama at the mouth of the pass of Abu Talib. They 
allege that when he had dug it he said: 'I will make it a means of subsis- 
tence for the people' (no). 

He 1 dug Sajla which is a well belonging to al-Mut'im b. 'Adly b. Naufal 
b. 'Abdu Manaf which is still used today. The B. xN'aufal allege that 
al-Mut'im bought it from Asad b. Hashim, while B. Hashim allege that 
he gave it to him when Zamzam was uncovered and people had no further 
use for the other wells. 

Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams dug al-Hafr for himself. The B. Asad b. 
'Abdu'l-'Uzza dug Suqayya 2 which belongs to them. The B. 'Abdu'l-Dar 
dug Uram Ahrad. The B. Jumah dug al-Sunbula which belongs to Khalaf 
b. Wahb. The B. Sahm dug al-Ghamr which belongs to them. 

There were some old wells outside Mecca dating from the time of Murra 
b. Ka'b and Kilab b. Murra from which the first princes of Quraysh used 
to draw water, namely Rumm and Khumm. Rumm was dug by Murra 
b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy, and Khumm by B. Kilab b. Murra, and so was al-Hafr. 3 
There is an old poem of Hudhayfa b. Ghanim, brother of B. 'Adly b. Ka'b 
b. Lu'ayy (in), which runs: 

In the good old days we were long satisfied 
To get our water from Khumm or al-Hafr. 

Zamzam utterly eclipsed the other wells from which the pilgrims used 96 
to get their water, and people went to it because it was in the sacred enclo- 
sure and because its water was superior to any other; and, too, because it 
was the well of Isma'il b. Ibrahim. Because of it B. 'Abdu Manaf behaved 
boastfully towards Quraysh and all other Arabs. 

Here are some lines of Musafir b. Abu 'Amr b. Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams 
b. 'Abdu Manaf boasting over Quraysh that they held the right of watering 
and feeding the pilgrims, and that they discovered Zamzam, and that B. 

1 The editor has been untidy here. Commentators point out that Hashim did not dig 
this well, and al-Suhayli quotes a poem beginning 'I am Quaayy and I dug Sajla'. 

1 Neither Yiqut (iii. 105 and 305) nor the ancients knew whether the well was called 
Suqayya or Shufayya. Azr. ii. 177 names only Shufayya. 

J It has just been said that Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams dug al-Hafr. Yiqut says 'liafr . . . 
belongs to B. Taym b. Murra . . . al-Hazimi spelt it Jafr.' This may account for the incon- 
sistency, as it seems that there were two wells, I.Iafr and Jafr, in Mecca. 

B 4080 F 

66 The Life of Muhammad 

'Abdu Manaf were one family in which the honour and merit of one 
belonged to all: 

Glory came to us from our fathers. 
We have carried it to greater heights. 
Do not we give the pilgrims water 
And sacrifice the fat milch camels ? 
When death is at hand we are found 
Brave and generous. 

Though we perish (for none can live for ever) 
A stranger shall not rule our kin. 
Zamzam belongs to our tribe. 

We will pluck out the eyes of those who look enviously at us. 
Hudhayfa b. Ghanim [mentioned above] said: 

(Weep for him) who watered the pilgrims, son of him who broke 
bread 1 

And 'Abdu Manaf that FihrT lord. 
He laid bare Zamzam by the Maqam, 

His control of the. witter was a prouder boast than any man's (112). 

T. 1076 'abdu'l-muttalib's vow to sacrifice his son 


It is alleged, and God only knows the truth, that when 'Abdu'l-Mutfalib 
encountered the opposition of Quraysh when he was digging Zamzam, 
he vowed that if he should have ten sons to grow up and protect him, he 
would sacrifice one of them to God at the Ka'ba. Afterwards when he had 
ten sons who could protect him he gathered them together and told them 
about his vow and called on them to keep faith with God. They agreed to 
obey him and asked what they were to do. He said that each one of them 
must get an arrow, write his name on it, and bring it to him: this they did, 
and he took them before Hubal in the middle of the Ka'ba. (The statue of) 
Hubal 2 stood by a well there. It was that well in which gifts made to the 
Ka'ba were stored. 

Now beside Hubal there were seven arrows, each of them containing 
some words. One was marked 'bloodwit'. When they disputed about who 
should pay the bloodwit they cast lots with the seven arrows and he on 
whom the lot fell had to pay the money. Another was marked 'yes', and 
another 'no', and they acted accordingly on the matter on which the oracle 
had been invoked. Another was marked 'of you' ; another mulfaq, 3 another 
'not of you' ; and the last was marked 'water'. If they wanted to dig for 
water, they cast lots containing this arrow and wherever it came forth they 

1 I read khubz with most MSS. 

2 Cf. p. 103. J "ids 'Hubal being the greatest (or, most revered) of the idols of Quraysh 
in Mecca'. J Not a member of the tribe. 

The Life of Muhammad 67 

set to work. If they wanted to circumcise a boy, or make a marriage, or 
bury a body, or doubted someone's genealogy, they took him to Hubal with 
a hundred dirhams and a slaughter camel and gave them to the man who cast 
the lots ; then they brought near the man with whom they were concerned 
saying, 'O our god this is A the son of B with whom we intend to do so and 
so; so show the right course concerning him.' Then they would say to the 
man who cast the arrows 'Cast!' and if there came out 'of you' then he was 
a true member of their tribe; and if there came out 'not of you' he was an 98 
ally ; and if there came out mulsaq he had no blood relation to them and 
was not an ally. Where 'yes' came out in other matters, they acted accord- 
ingly; and if the answer was 'no' they deferred the matter for a year until 
they could bring it up again. They used to conduct their affairs according 
to the decision of the arrows. 

'Abdu'l-Muttalib said to the man with the arrows, 'Cast the lots for my 
sons with these arrows', and he told him of the vow which he had made. 
Each man gave him the arrow on which his name was written. Now 'Ab- 
dullah was his father's youngest son, he and al-Zubayr and Abu Talib 
were born to Fatima d. 'Amr b. 'A'idh b. 'Abd b. Tmran b. Makhzum b. 
Yaqaza b. Murra b. Ka*b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr (113). It is alleged that 
'Abdullah was 'Abdu'l-Muttalib's favourite son, and his father thought that 
if the arrow missed him he would be spared. (He was the father of the 
apostle of God.) When the man took the arrows to cast lots with them, 
'Abdu'l-Muttalib stood by Hubal praying to Allah. Then the man cast lots 
and 'Abdullah's arrow came out. His father led him by the hand and took 
a large knife; then he brought him up to Isaf and Na'ila (T. two idols of 
Quraysh at which they slaughtered their sacrifices) to sacrifice him ; but 
Quraysh came out of their assemblies and asked what he was intending to 
do. When he said that he was going to sacrifice him they and his sons 
said 'By God! you shall never sacrifica him until you offer the greatest 
expiatory sacrifice for him. If you do a thing like this there will be no 
stopping men from coming to sacrifice their sons, and what will become 
of the people then?' Then said al-Mughlra b. 'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. 
Makhzum b. Yaqaza, 'Abdullah's mother being from his tribe, 'By God, 
you shall never sacrifice him until you offer the greatest expiatory sacrifice 
for him. Though his ransom be all our property we will redeem him.' 
Quraysh and his sons said that he must not do it, but take him to the Hijaz 1 
for there there was a sorceress who had a familiar spirit, and he must con- 
sult her. Then he would have liberty of action. If she told him to sacrifice 
him, he would be no worse off ; and if she gave him a favourable response, 
he could accept it. So they went off as far as Medina and found that she 99 
was in Khaybar, so they allege. So they rode on until they got to her, and 
when 'Abdu'l-Muttalib acquainted her with the facts she told them to go 
away until her famiiiar spirit visited her and she could ask him. When they 
had left her 'Abdu'l-Muttalib prayed to Allah, and when they visited her 

1 The region of which Medina was the centre. Sec Lammens, V Arabic Occidentals 300 f. 

68 The Life of Muhammad 

the next day she said, 'Word has come to me. How much is the blood 
money among you Y They told her that it was ten camels, as indeed it was. 
She told them to go back to their country and take the young man and ten 
camels. Then cast lots for them and for him; if the lot falls against your 
man, add more camels, until your lord is satisfied. If the lot falls against 
the camels then sacrifice them in his stead, for your lord will be satisfied 
and your client escape death. So they returned to Mecca, and when they 
had agreed to carry out their instructions, 'Abdu'l-Muttalib was praying 
to Allah. Then they brought near 'Abdullah and ten camels while Abdu'l- 
Muttalib stood by Hubal praying to Allah. Then they cast lots and the 
arrow fell against Abdullah. They added ten more camels and the lot fell 
against Abdullah, and so they went on adding ten at a time, until there 
were one hundred camels, when finally the lot fell against them. Quraysh 
and those who were present said, 'At last your lord is satisfied 'Abdu'l- 
Muttalib.' 'No, by God,* he answered (so they say), 'not until I cast lots 
three times.' This they did and each time the arrow fell against the camels. 
They were duly slaughtered and left there and no man was kept back or 
hindered (from eating them) (114). 


Taking 'Abdullah by the hand Abdu'l-Muttalib went away and they passed 
—so it is alleged— a woman of B. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy b. 
Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr who was the sister of 
Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, who was at the Ka'ba. When 
she looked at him she asked, 'Where are you going Abdullah ?' He replied, 
'With my father.' She said, 'If you will take me you can have as many 
camels as were sacrificed in your stead.' 'I am with my father and I cannot 
act against his wishes and leave him', he replied. 

'Abdu'l-Muttalib brought him to W 7 ahb b. 'Abdu Manaf b. Zuhra b. 
Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr who was the leading 
man of B. Zuhra in birth and honour, and he married him to his daughter 
Amina, she being the most excellent woman among the Quraysh in birth 
and position at that time. Her mother was Barra d. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. 
'Uthman b. 'Abdu'l-Dar b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy 
b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Barra's mother was Umm Habib d. Asad b. 'Abdu'l- 
'Uzza b. Qusayy by Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. 
Umm Habib's mother was Barra d. 'Auf b. 'Ubayd b. 'Uwayj b. 'Adiy b. 
Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. 

It is alleged that 'Abdullah consummated his marriage immediately and 
his wife conceived the apostle of God. 1 Then he left her presence and met 
the woman who had proposed to him. He asked her why she did not 

• T- 'Muhammad.' 

The Life of Muhammad 69 

make the proposal that she made to him the day before; to which she 
replied that the light that was with him the day before had left him, and 
she no longer had need of him. She had heard from her brother Waraqa 
b. Naufal, who had been a Christian and studied the scriptures, that a 
prophet would arise among this people. 

My father Ishaq b. Yasar told me that he was told that 'Abdullah went 
in to a woman that he had beside Amina d. Wahb when he had been work- 
ing in clay and the marks of the clay were on him. She put him off when 
he made a suggestion to her because of the dirt that was on him. He then 
left her and washed and bathed himself, and as he made his way to Amina 
he passed her and she invited him to come to her. He refused and went to 
Amina who conceived Muhammad. When he passed the woman again ne 
asked her if she wanted anything and she said 'No! When you passed me 
there was a white blaze between your eyes and when I invited you you 
refused me and went in to Amina, and she has taken it away.' 

It is alleged that that woman of his used to say that when he passed by 
her between his eyes there was a blaze like the blaze of a horse. She said: 
'I invited him hoping that that would be in me, but he refused me and 
went to Amina and she conceived the apostle of God.' So the apostle of 
God was the noblest of his people in birth and the greatest in honour both 
on his father's and his mother's side. God bless and preserve him! 



It is alleged in popular stories (and only God knows the truth) that Amina 
d. Wahb, the mother of God's apostle, used to say when she was pregnant 
with God's apostle that a voice said to her, *You are pregnant with the lord 
of this people and when he is born say, "I put him in the care of the One 
from the evil of every envier; then call him Muhammad."' As she was 
pregnant with him she saw a light come forth from her by which she could 
see the castles of Busra in Syria. Shortly afterwards 'Abdullah the apostle's 
father died while his mother was still pregnant. 


The apostle was born on Monday, 12th Rabi'u'l-awwal, in the year of the 

elephant. Al-Mutfalib b. 'Abdullah who had it from his grandfather Qays 

b. Makhrama said, ' I and the apostle were born at the same time in the year 

of the elephant.' (T. It is said that he was born in the house known as J. 998 

I. Yusuf's; and it is said that the apostle gave it to 'Aqil b. Abu Talib who 

kept it until he died. His son sold it to Muhammad b. Yusuf, the brother 

jo The Life of Muhammad 

of al-Hajjaj, and he incorporated it in the house he built. Later Khayzuran 
separated it therefrom and made it into a mosque.) 1 

Salih b. Ibrahim b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. *Auf b. Yahya b. 'Abdullah b. 
'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Sa'd b. Zurara al-Ansari said that his tribesmen said 
that Hassan b. Thabit said: 'I was a well-grown boy of seven or eight, 
understanding all that I heard, when I heard a Jew calling out at the top of 
his voice from the top of a fort in Yathrib "O company of Jews" until they 
all came together and called out "Confound you, what is the matter?" He 
answered: "Tonight has risen a star under which Ahmad is to be born." ' 

103 I asked Sa'Id b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Hassan b. Thabit how old Hassan 
was when the apostle came to Medina and he said he was 60 when the 
apostle came, he being 53. So Hassan heard this when he was seven years 

After his birth his mother sent to tell his grandfather 'Abdu'l-Muttalib 
that she had given birth to a boy and asked him to come and look at him. 
When he came she told him what she had seen when she conceived him 
and what was said to her and what she was ordered to call him. It is alleged 
T. 999 that 'Abdu'l-Muttalib took him (T. before Hubal) in the (T. middle of 
the) Ka'ba, where he stood and prayed to Allah thanking him for this gift. 
Then he brought him out and delivered him to his mother, and he tried to 
find foster-mothers for him (115). 

Hallma d. Abii Dhu'ayb of B. Sa'd b. Bakr was asked to suckle him. 
Abu Dhu'ayb was 'Abdullah b. al-Harith b. Shijna b. Jabir b. Rizam b. 
Nasira b. Qusayya b. Nasr b. Sa'd b. Bakr b. Hawazin b. Mansur 
b. 'Ikrima b. Khasafa b. Qays b. 'Aylan. 

The prophet's foster-father was al-Harith b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Rifa'a b. 
Mallan b. Nasira b. Qusayya b. Nasr b. Sa'd b. Bakr b. Hawazin (116). 

His foster-brother was 'Abdullah b. al-Harith ; Unaysa and Hudhafa 2 
were his foster-sisters. The latter was called al-Shayma', her people not 
using her proper name. These were the children of Hallma d. 'Abdullah 
b. al-Harith. It is reported that al-Shayma' used to carry him in her arms 
to help her mother. 

Jahm b. Abu Jahm the client of al-Harith b. Hafib al-Jumahi on the 
authority of 'Abdullah b. Ja'far b. Abu Talib or from one who told him it 
as from him, informed me that Hallma the apostle's foster-mother used to 
say that she went forth from her country with her husband and little son 
whom she was nursing, among the women of her tribe, in search of other 

104 babies to nurse. This was a year of famine when they were destitute. She 
was riding a dusky she-donkey of hers with an old she-camel which did not 
yield a drop of milk. They could not sleep the whole night because of the 
weeping of her hungry child. She had no milk to give him, nor could their 

1 Khayzuran was the wife of the caliph al-Mahdi (158-69), and as he did not give her her 
freedom until after his accession and I.I. died a few years before in the reign of Mansur, it 
would seem unlikely that I.I. should have recorded this tradition. 

2 Tn W. Judhama. I have followed C. which has the authority of I. Uajar. The name is 

The Life of Muhammad 71 

she-camel provide a morning draught, but we were hoping for rain and 
relief. 'I rode upon my donkey which had kept back the other riders 
through its weakness and emaciation so that it was a nuisance to them. 
When we reached Mecca, we looked out for foster children, and the apostle 
of God was offered to everyone of us, and each woman refused him when 
she was told he was an orphan, because we hoped to get payment from the 
child's father. We said, "An orphan! and what will his mother and grand- 
father do?", and so we spurned him because of that. Every woman who 
came with me got a suckling except me, and when we decided to depart I 
said to my husband: "By God, I do not like the idea of returning with my 
friends without a suckling; I will go and take that orphan." Her eplied, 
"Do as you please ; perhaps God will bless us on his account." So I went 
and took him for the sole reason that I could not find anyone else. I took 
him back to my baggage, and as soon as I put him in my bosom, my breasts 
overflowed with milk which he drank until he was satisfied, as also did his 
foster-brother. Then both of them slept, whereas before this we could not 
sleep with him. My husband got up and went to the old she-camel and lo, 
her udders were full; he milked it and he and I drank of her milk until we 
were completely satisfied, and we passed a happy night. In the morning 
my husband said: "Do you know, Hallma, you have taken a blessed crea- 
ture ?" I said, "By God, I hope so." Then we set out and I was riding my 
she-ass and carrying him with me, and she went at such a pace that the 
other donkeys could not keep up so that my companions said to me, "Con- 
found you! stop and wait for us. Isn't this the donkey on which you 
started?" "Certainly it is," I said. They replied, "By God, something 
extraordinary- has happened." Then we came to our dwellings in the Banu 
Sa'd country and I do not know a country more barren than that. 

When we had him with us my flock used to yield milk in abundance. We 
milked them and drank while other people had not a drop, nor could they 
find anything in their animals' udders, so that our people were saying to 
their shepherds, "Woe to you! send your flock to graze where the daughter 
of Abu Dhuayb's shepherd goes." Even so, their flocks came back hungry 
not yielding a drop of milk, while mine had milk in abundance. We ceased 
not to recognize this bounty as coming from God for a period of two years, 
when I weaned him. He was growing up as none of the other children 
grew and by the time he was two he was a well-made child. W r e brought 
him to his mother, though we were most anxious to keep him with us 
because of the blessing which he brought us. I said to her: 1 "I should like 
you to leave my little boy with me until he becomes a big boy, for I am 
afraid on his account of the pest in Mecca." We persisted until she sent 
him back with us. 

Some months after our return he and his brother were with our lambs 
behind the tents when his brother came running and said to us, "Two men 

1 J here inserts YdZCru 'O nurse!' implying that Amina was not his mother. A strange 

j2 The Life of Muhammad 

clothed in white have seized that QurayshI brother of mine and thrown 
him down and opened up his belly, and are stirring it up." We ran towards 
him and found him standing up with a livid face. We took hold of him and 
asked him what was the matter. He said, "Two men in white raiment came 
and threw me down and opened up my belly and searched therein for I 
know not what." 1 So we took him back to our tent. 

His father said to me, "I am afraid that this child has had a stroke, so 
take him back to his family before the result appears." So we picked him 
up and took him to his mother who asked why we had brought him when 
I had been anxious for his welfare and desirous of keeping him with me. 
I said to her, "God has let my son live so far and I have done my duty. I am 
afraid that ill will befall him, so I have brought him back to you as you 
wished." She asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told 
her. When she asked if I feared a demon possessed him, I replied that I 
106 did. She answered that no demon had any power over her son who had a 
great future before him, and then she told how when she was pregnant with 
him a light went out from her which illumined the castles of Busr3 in 
Syria, and that she had borne him with the least difficulty imaginable. 
When she bore him he put his hands on the ground lifting his head towards 
__the heavens. "Leave him then and go in peace," she said.' 

Thaur b. Yazid from a learned person who I think was Khalid b. 
ly Ma'dan al Kala'i told me that some of the apostle's companions asked him 
to tell them about himself. He said : 'I am what Abraham my father prayed 
for and the good news of (T. my brother) Jesus. When my mother was . 
carrying me she saw a light proceeding from her which showed her the 
castles of Syria. I was suckled among the B. Sa'd b. Bakr, and while I was 
with a brother of mine behind our tents shepherding the lambs, two men 
in white raiment came to me with a gold basin full of snow. Then they 
seized me and opened up my belly, extracted my heart and split it; then 
they extracted a black drop from it and threw it away ; then they washed my 
heart and my belly with that snow until they had thoroughly cleaned them. 
Then one said to the other, weigh him against ten of his people ; they did so 
and I outweighed them. Then they weighed me against a hundred and 
then a thousand, and I outweighed them. He said, "Leave him alone, for 
by God, if you weighed him against all his people he would outweigh 

The apostle of God used to say, There is no prophet but has shepherded 
a flock. When they said, 'You, too, apostle of God ?', he said 4 Yes.' 

The apostle of God used to say to his companions, 'I am the most Arab 
of you all. I am of Quraysh, and I was suckled among the B. Sa'd b. Bakr. 
It is alleged by some, but God knows the truth, that when his foster-mother 
brought him to Mecca he escaped her among the crowd while she was 
taking him to his people. She sought him and could not find him, so she 
went to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib and said: 'I brought Muhammad tonight and 

1 Cf. SOra 94. 1. 

The Life of Muhammad 73 

when I was in the upper part of Mecca he escaped me and I don't know 
where he is.' So 'Abdu'l-Muttalib went to the Ka'ba praying to God to 
restore him. They assert that Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad and another man 107 
of Quraysh found him and brought him to 'Abdu'l-Muttalib saying, 'We 
have found this son of yours in the upper part of Mecca.' 'Abdu'l-Muttalib 
took him and put him on his shoulder as he went round the Ka'ba confiding 
him to God's protection and praying for him; then he sent him to his 
mother Amina. 

A learned person told me that what urged his foster-mother to return 
him to his mother, apart from what she told his mother, was that a number 
of Abyssinian Christians saw him with her when she brought him back 
after he had been weaned. They looked at him, asked questions about him, 
and studied him carefully, then they said to her, 'Let us take this boy, and 
bring him to our king and our country; for he will have a great future. 
We know all about him.' The person who told me this alleged that she 
could hardly get him away from them. 

Amina dies and the apostle lives with his 

The apostle lived with his mother Amina d. Wahb and his grandfather 
'Abdu'l-Muttalib in God's care and keeping like a fine plant, God wishing 
to honour him. When he was six years old his mother Amina died. 

'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm told me that the 
apostle's mother died in Abwa' between Mecca and Medina on her return 
from a visit with him to his maternal uncles of B. 'Adiy b. al-Najjar when 
he was six years old (117). Thus the apostle was left to his grandfather for 
whom they made a bed in the shade of the Ka'ba. His sons used to sit 
round the bed until he came out to it, but none of them sat upon it out of 
respect for him. The apostle, still a little boy, used to come and sit on it 108 
and his uncles would drive him away. When 'Abdu'l-Muttalib saw this 
he said: 'Let my son alone, for by Allah he has a great future.' Then he 
would make him sit beside him on his bed and would stroke his back with 
his hand. It used to please him to see what he did. 



When the apostle was eight years of age, eight years after the 'year of the 
elephant', his grandfather died. This date was given me by al-' Abbas b. 
'Abdullah b. Ma'bad b. al-' Abbas from one of his family. 

Muhammad b. Sa'id b. al-Musayyib told me that when 'Abdu'l-Mutta- 
lib knew that death was at hand he summoned his six daughters Saf lya, 
Barra, 'Atika, Umm Hakim al-Bayda', Umayma, and Arwa, and said to 

74 The Life of Muhammad 

them, 'Compose elegies over me so that I may hear what you are going to 
say before I die.' (118) 

Safiya d. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib said in mourning her father: 

I could not sleep for the voices of the keening women, 
Bewailing a man on the crown of life's road, 
It caused the tears to flow 
Down my cheeks like falling pearls 
For a noble man, no wretched weakling, 
Whose virtue was plain to all. 
The generous Shayba, full of merits, 
Thy good father inheritor of all virtue, 
Truthful at home, no weakling, 
Standing firm and self-reliant. 
Powerful, fear-inspiring, massive, 
Praised and obeyed by his people, 
Of lofty lineage, smiling, virtuous, 
A very rain when camels had no milk. 
109 Noble was his grandfather without spot of shame, 

Surpassing all men, bond or free, 
Exceeding mild, of noble stock, 
Who were generous, strong as lions, 
Could men be immortal through ancient glory, 
(Alas immortality is unobtainable!) 
He would make his last night endure for ever 
Through his surpassing glory and long descent. 

His daughter Barra said : 

Be generous, O eyes, with your pearly tears, 

For the generous nature who never repelled a beggar. 

Of glorious race, successful in undertaking, 

Of handsome face, of great nobility. 

Shayba, the laudable, the noble, 

The glorious, the mighty, the renowned, 

The clement, decisive in misfortunes, 

Full of generosity, lavish in gifts, 

Excelling his people in glory, 

A light shining like the moon in its splendour. 

Death came to him and spared him not, 

Change and fortune and fate overtook him. 

His daughter 'Atika said: 

Be generous, O eyes, and not niggardly 
With your tears when others sleep, 
Weep copiously, O eyes, with your tears, 
While you beat your faces in weeping. 

The Life of Muhammad 75 

Weep, O eyes, long and freely 

For one, no dotard weakling, 

The strong, generous in time of need, 

Noble in purpose, faithful to his word. 

Shayba the laudable, successful in undertaking, 

The reliable and the steady, 

A sharp sword in war 

Destroying his enemies in battle, 

Easy natured, open handed, 

Loyal, stout, pure, good. 

His house proudly rooted in high honour 

Mounted to glory unobtainable by others. 

His daughter Umm Hakim al-Bayda' said: no 

Weep, O eye, generously, hide not thy tears, 
Weep for the liberal and generous one, 
Fie upon thee O eye, help me 
With fast falling tears! 

Weep for the best man who ever rode a beast, 

Thy good father, a fountain of sweet water. 

Shayba the generous, the virtuous, 

Liberal in nature, praised for his gifts, 

Lavish to his family, handsome, 

Welcome as rain in years of drought. 

A lion when the spears engage, 

His womenfolk look on him proudly. 

Chief of Kinana on whom their hopes rest, 

W r hen evil days brought calamity, 

Their refuge when war broke out, 

In trouble and dire distress. 

Weep for him, refrain not from grief, 

Make women weep for him as long as you live. 

His daughter Umayma said : 

Alas, has the shepherd of his people, the generous one, perished, 

Who gave the pilgrims their water, the defender of our fame, 

Who used to gather the wandering guest into his tents, 

When the heavens begrudged their rain. 

You have the noblest sons a man could have 

And have never ceased to grow in fame, O Shayba! 

Abu'l Harith, the bountiful, has left his place, 

Go not far for every living thing must go far. 

I shall weep for him and suffer as long as I live. 

His memory deserves that I suffer. 

May the Lord of men water thy grave with rain! 

The Life of Muhammad 

I shall weep for him though he lies in the grave. 

He was the pride of all his people, 

And was praised wherever praise was due. 

His daughter Arwa said : 

My eye wept and well it did 
For the generous modest father, 
1 1 1 The pleasant natured man of Mecca's vale, 

Noble in mind, lofty in aim, 
The bountiful Shayba full of virtues, 
Thy good father who has no peer, 
Long armed, elegant, tall, 
'Twas as though his forehead shone with light, 
Lean waisted, handsome, full of virtues, 
Glory, rank, and dignity were his, 
Resenting wrong, smiling, able, 
His ancestral fame could not be hid, 
The refuge of Malik, the spring of Fihr, 
When judgement was sought he spoke the last word. 
He was a hero, generous, liberal, 
And bold when blood was to be shed, 
When armed men were afraid of death 
So that the hearts of most of them were as air, 1 
Forward he went with gleaming sword, 
The cynosure of all eyes. 

Muhammad b. Said b. al-Musayyib told me 2 that 'Abdu'l-Muttalib 
made a sign to the effect that he was satisfied with the elegies, for he could 
not speak (119). 

Hudhayfa b. Ghanim, brother of B. 'Adiy b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy, mentioned 
his superiority and that of Qusayy and his sons over the Quraysh, because 
he had been seized for a debt of 4,000 dirhams in Mecca and Abu Lahab 
AbduVUzza b. Abdu'l-Muttalib passed by and redeemed him: 

O eyes, let the generous tears flow down the breast, 
Weary not, may you be washed with falling rain, 
Be generous with your tears, every morn 
Weeping for a man whom fate did not spare. 
Weep floods of tears while life does last, 
Over Quraysh's modest hero who concealed his good deeds, 
A powerful zealous defender of his dignity, 
Handsome of face, no weakling, and no braggart, 
The famous prince, generous and liberal, 
Spring rain of Lu'ayy in drought and dearth, 
1 12 Best of all the sons of Ma'add, 

' Cf Sura 14. 44 'and their hearts were air*. 2 Mama li. 

The Life of Muhammad 77 

Noble in action, in nature and in race, 

Their best in root and branch and ancestry. 

Most famous in nobility and reputation, 

First in glory, kindness and sagacity, 

And in virtue when the lean years exact their toll. 

Weep over Shayba the praiseworthy, whose face 

Illumined the darkest night, like the moon at the full, 

Who watered the pilgrims, son of him who broke bread, 1 

And *Abdu Manaf that Fihri lord, 

Who uncovered Zamzam by the Sanctuary, 

Whose control of the water was a prouder boast than any man's. 

Let every captive in his misery weep for him 

And the family of Qusayy, poor and rich alike. 

Noble are his sons, both young and old, 

They have sprung from the eggs of a hawk, 

Qusayy who opposed Kinana all of them, 

And guarded the temple in weal and woe. 

Though fate and its changes bore him away, 

He lived happy in successful achievement, 

He left behind well armed men 

Bold in attack, like very spears. 

Abu 'Utba who gave me his gift, 

White blood camels of the purest white. 

Hamza like the moon at the full rejoicing to give, 

Chaste and free from treachery, 

And 'Abdu Manaf the glorious, defender of his honour, 
Kind to his kindred, gentle to his relatives. 
Their men arc the best of men, 

Their young men like the offspring of kings who neither perish nor 

Whenever you meet one of their scions 

You will find him going in the path of his forefathers. 

They filled the vale with fame and glory 

When rivalry and good works had long been practised, 2 

Among them are great builders and buildings, 

*Abdu Manaf their grandfather being the repairer of their fortunes, 

When he married 'Auf to his daughter to give us protection 

From our enemies when the Banu Fihr betrayed us, 

We went through the land high and low under his protection, 

Until our camels could plunge into the sea. 

They lived as townsmen while some were nomads 

* Cf. p. 66. Or, 'then for the good Hashim (Ulkhayr for lilkhubz). 

» Cf. Sura 2. U3 'Vie with one another in good works', and cf. 5. 53 for this use of the 

7 8 The Life of Muhammad 

None but the sheikhs of Banu 'Amr 1 were there, 
They built many houses and dug wells 
Whose waters flowed as though from the great sea 
That pilgrims and others might drink of them, 
When they hastened to them on 
Three days their camels lay 
Quietly between the mountains and the hijr. 
Of old we had lived in plenty, 
Drawing our water from Khumm or al-Hafr. 
They forgot wrongs normally avenged, 
And overlooked foolish slander, 
They collected all the allied tribesmen, 
And turned from us the evil of the Banu Bakr. 
O Kharija, 2 when I die cease not to thank them 
Until you are laid in the grave, 
And forget not Ibn Lubna's kindness, 
A kindness that merits thy gratitude. 

And thou Ibn Lubna art from Qusayy when genealogies are sought 

Where man's highest hope is attained, 

Thyself has gained the height of glory 

And joined it to its root in valour. 

Surpassing and exceeding thy people in generosity 

As a boy thou wast superior to every liberal chief. 

Thy mother will be a pure pearl of Khuza'a, 

When experienced genealogists one day compile a roll. 

To the heroes of Sheba she can be traced and belongs. 

How noble her ancestry in the summit of splendour! 

Abu Shamir is of them and 'Amr b. Malik 

And Dhu Jadan and Abu'l-Jabr are of her people, and 

As'ad who led the people for twenty years 

Assuring victory in those lands (120). 
Matrud b. Ka'b the Khuza'ite bewailing 'AbdQ'l-Muttalib and the sons of 
'Abdu Manaf said: 

O wanderer ever changing thy direction, 
Why hast thou not asked of the family of 'Abdu Manaf? 
Good God, if you had lived in their homeland 
114 They would have saved you from injury and unworthy marriages ; 
Their rich mingle with their poor 
So that their poor are as their wealthy. 
Munificent when times were bad, 
Who travel with the caravans of Quraysh 
Who feed men when the winds are stormy 
Until the sun sinks into the sea. 

1 The sons of Hashim are meant : his name was 'Amr. So Cairo editors. 
1 i.e. Kharija b. Hudhafa. 

The Life of Muhammad 


Since you have perished, O man of great deeds, 

Never has the necklace of a woman drooped over your like 1 

Save your father alone, that generous man, and 

The bountiful Mutfalib, father of his guests. 

When 'Abdu'l-Muftalib died his son al-'Abbas took charge of Zamzam 
and the watering of the pilgrims, although he was the youngest of his 
father's sons. When Islam came it was still in his hands and the apostle 
confirmed his right to it and so it remains with the family of al-'Abbas to 
this day. 


After the death of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib the apostle lived with his uncle Abu 
Talib, for (so they allege) the former had confided him to his care because 
he and 'Abdullah, the apostle's father, were brothers by the same mother, 
Fatima d. 'Amr b. 'A'idh b. 'Abd b. Tmran b. Makhzum (121). It was 
Abu Talib who used to look after the apostle after the death of his grand- 
father and he became one of his family. 

Yahya b. 'Abbad b. 'Abdullah b. al-Zubayr told me that his father told 
him that there was a man of Lihb (122) who was a seer. Whenever he came 
to Mecca the Quraysh used to bring their boys to him so that he could look 
at them and tell their fortunes. So Abu Talib brought him along with the "5 
others while he was still a boy. The seer looked at him and then something 
claimed his attention. That disposed of he cried, 'Bring me that boy.' 
When Abu Talib saw his eagerness he hid him and the seer began to say, 
*Woe to you, bring me that boy I saw just now, for by Allah he has a great 


Abu Talib had planned to go in a merchant caravan to Syria, and when all 
preparations had been made for the journey, the apostle of God, so they 
allege, attached himself closely to him so that he took pity on him and said 
that he would take him with him, and that the two of them should never 
part; or words to that effect. When the caravan reached Busra in Syria, 
there was a monk there in his cell by 'the name of Bahlra, who was well 
versed in the knowledge of Christians. A monk had always occupied that 
cell. There he gained his knowledge from a book that was in the cell, so 
they allege, handed on from generation to generation. They had often 

1 i.e. 'never has your equal been born'. The figure is that of a woman nursing a baby 
while her necklace falls over the child at her breast. The correct reading would seem to be 
'iqd not 'aqd; dhdt nifdf means 'possessor of pendant earrings', i.e. a woman. Dr. Arafat 
suggests that 'aqd 'girdle' should be read and the line would then run : 'Never has the knot 
of a woman's girdle run over your like*. The general sense would be the same, but the 
particular reference would be to a pregnant woman. 

8o The Life of Muhammad 

passed by him in the past and he never spoke to them or took any notice 
of them until this year, and when they stopped near his cell he made a 
great feast for them. It is alleged that that was because of something he 
saw while in his cell. They allege that while he was in his cell he saw the 
apostle of God in the caravan when they approached, with a cloud over- 
shadowing him among the people. Then they came and stopped in the 
shadow of a tree near the monk. He looked at the cloud when it over- 
shadowed the tree, and its branches were bending and drooping over the 
apostle of God until he was in the shadow beneath it. When Bahlra saw- 
that, he came out of his cell and sent word to them * 'I have prepared food 
for you, O men of Quraysh, and I should like you all to come both great 
and small, bond and free.' One of them said to him, 'By God, Bahlra! 
something extraordinary has happened today, you used not to treat us so, 
and we have often passed by you. What has befallen you today?' He 
answered, 'You are right in what you say, but you are guests and I wish to 
honour you and give you food so that you may eat.' So they gathered 
together with him, leaving the apostle of God behind with the baggage 
under the tree, on account of his extreme youth. When Bahira looked at 
the people he did not see the mark which he knew and found in his books,* 
so he said, 'Do not let one of you remain behind and not come to my feast.' 
They told him that no one who ought to come had remained behind except 
a boy who was the youngest of them and had stayed w ith their baggage. 
Thereupon he told them to invite him to come to the meal with them. One 
of the men of Quraysh said, 'By al-Lat and al-'Uzza, we are to blame for 
leaving behind the son of 'Abdullah b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib.' Then he got up 
and embraced him and made him sit with the people * When Bahira saw 
him he stared at him closely, looking at his body and finding traces of his 
description (in the Christian books). When the people had finished eating 
and gone away,t Bahlra got up and said to him, 'Boy, I ask you by al-Lat 
and al-'Uzza to answer my question.' Now Bahira said this only because 
he had heard his people swearing by these gods. They allege that the 
apostle of God said to him, 'Do not ask me by al-Lat and al-'Uzza, for by 
Allah nothing is more hateful to me than these two.' Bahira answered, 
'Then by Allah, tell me what I ask' ; he replied, 'Ask me what you like' ; sof 
he began to ask him about what happened in his (T. waking and in his) 
sleep, and his habits, 2 and his affairs generally, and what the apostle of God 
told him coincided with what Bahlra knew of his description. Then he 
looked at his back and saw the seal of prophethood between his shoulders 
fin the very place described in his book (i23).f When he had finished he 
went to his uncle Abu Talib and asked him what relation this boy was to 
him, and when he told him he was his son, he said that he was not, for it 
could not be that the father of this boy was alive. 'He is my nephew,' he 

" Lit. 'with him'. 2 hay'a, perhaps 'his body*. 

• J. 'sent word to invite them all' and omits passage ending 'people .• 
t . . . t T- ©m. 

The Life of Muhammad 81 

said, and when he asked what had become of his father he told him that he 
had died before the child was born. 'You have told the truth,' said Bahira. 
'Take your nephew back to his country and guard him carefully against the 
Jews, for by Allah! if they see him and know about him what I know, they 
will do him evil ; a great future lies before this nephew of yours, so take him 
home quickly.' 

So his uncle took him off quickly and brought him back to Mecca when 
he had finished his trading in Syria. People allege that Zurayr and Tam- 
mam and Daris, who were people of the scriptures, had noticed in the 
apostle of God what Bahira had seen during that journey which he took 
with his uncle, and they tried to get at him, but Bahira kept them away and 
reminded them of God and the mention of the description of him which 
they would find in the sacred books, and that if they tried to get at him 
they would not succeed. He gave them no peace until they recognized the 
truth of what he said and left him and went away. The apostle of God grew 
up, God protecting him and keeping him from the vileness of heathenism 
because he wished to honour him with apostleship, until he grew up to be 
the finest of his people in manliness, the best in character, most noble in 
lineage, the best neighbour, the most kind, truthful, reliable, the furthest 
removed from filthiness and corrupt morals, through loftiness and nobility, 
so that he was known among his people as 'The trustworthy' because of the 
good qualities which God had implanted in him. The apostle, so I was 
told, used to tell how God protected him in his childhood during the 
period of heathenism, saying, 'I found myself among the boys of Quraysh 
carrying stones such as boys piay with; we had all uncovered ourselves, 
each taking his shirt 1 and putting it round his neck as he carried the stones. 
I was going to and fro in the same way, when an unseen figure slapped me 
most painfully saying, "Put your shirt on"; so I took it and fastened it on 
me and then began to carry the stones upon my neck wearing my shirt 
alone among my fellows.' 2 

1 Properly a wrapper which covered the lower part of the body. 

* Suhayli, 120, after pointing out that a somewhat similar story is told of the prophet's 
modesty and its preservation by supernatural means, at the time that the rebuilding of the 
Ka'ba was undertaken when Muhammad was a grown man, says significantly that if the 
account here is correct divine intervention must have occurred twice. It may well be that 
he was led to make this comment by the fact that T". omits the story altogether and in its 
place (T- "26. 10) writes: 'I. Hamid said that Salama told him that I.I. related from 
Muhammad b. 'Abdullah b. Qays b. Makhrama from al-I.Iasan b. Muhammad b. 'AH b. 
Abu falib from his father Muhammad b. 'Ali from his grandfather 'Ali b. Abu 'J'alib: I 
heard the apostle say, "I never gave a thought to what the people of the pagan era used to* 
do but twice, because God came between me and my desires. Afterwards I never thought 
of evil when God honoured me with apostleship. Once I said to a young Qurayshi who was 
shepherding with me on the high ground of Mecca, 'I should like you to look after my 
beasts for me while I go and spend the night in Mecca as young men do.' He agreed and 
I went off with that intent, and when I came to the first house in Mecca I heard the sound 
of tambourines and flutes and was told that a marriage had just taken place. I sat down to 
look at them when God smote my ear and I fell asleep until I was woken by the sun. I 
came to my friend and in reply to his questions told him what had happened. Exactly the 
same thing occurred on another occasion. Afterwards I never thought of evil until God 
honoured me with his apostleship." 1 

B 40SO G 


The Life of Muhammad 


This war broke out when the apostle was twenty years of age. It was so 
called because these two tribes, Kinana and Qays 'Aylan, fought in the 
sacred month. The chief of Quraysh and Kinana was Harb b. Umayya b. 
'Abdu Shams. At the beginning of the day Qays got the upper hand but 
by midday victory went to Kinana (125). 


Khadija was a merchant woman of dignity and wealth. She used to hire 
men to carry merchandise outside the country on a profit-sharing basis, for 
Quraysh were a people given to commerce. Now when she heard about 
the prophet's truthfulness, trustworthiness, and honourable character, she 
sent for him and proposed that he should take her goods to Syria and trade 
with them, while she would pay him more than she paid others. He was to 
take a lad of hers called Maysara. The apostle of God accepted the propo- 
sal, and the two set forth until they came to Syria. 

The apostle stopped in the shade of a tree near a monk's cell, when the 
monk came up to Maysara and asked who the man was who was resting 
beneath the tree. He told him that he was of Quraysh, the people who held 
the sanctuary; and the monk exclaimed: 'None but a prophet ever sat 
beneath this tree.' 

Then the prophet sold the goods he had brought and bought what he 
wanted to buy and began the return journey to Mecca. The story goes 
that at the height of noon when the heat was intense as he rode his beast 
Maysara saw two angels shading the apostle from the sun's rays. When he 
brought Khadija her property she sold it and it amounted to double or 
thereabouts. Maysara for his part told her about the two angels who 
shaded him and of the monk's words. Now Khadija was a determined, 
noble, and intelligent woman possessing the properties with which God 
willed to honour her. So when Maysara told her these things she sent to 
the apostle of God and— so the story goes— said: 'O son of my uncle I like 
you because of our relationship and your high reputation among your 
people, your trustworthiness and good character and truthfulness.' Then 
she proposed marriage. Now Khadija at that time was the best born 
woman in Quraysh, of the greatest dignity and, too, the richest. All her 
people were eager to get possession of her wealth if it were possible. 

Khadija was the daughter of Khuwaylid b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. 
Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Her 
mother was Fatima d. Za'ida b. al-Asamm b. Rawaha b. Hajar b. 'Abd b. 
Ma'is b. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy b.. Ghalib b. Fihr. Her mother was Hala d. 
'Abdu Manaf b. al-Harith b. 'Amr b. Munqidh b. 'Amr b. Ma'is b. 'Amir 
b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Hala's mother was Qilaba d. Su'ayd b. Sa'd b. 
Sahm b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. 

The Life of Muhammad 83 

The apostle of God told his uncles of Khadija's proposal, and his uncle 
Hamza b. 'Abdu'l : Muttalib went with him to Khuwaylid b. Asad and 
asked for her hand and he married her (127). 

She was the mother of all the apostle's children except Ibrahim, namely 121 
al-Qasim (whereby he was known as Abu'l-Qasim); al-Tahir, al-Tayyib, 1 
Zaynab, Ruqayya, Umm Kulthum, and Fatima (128). 

Al-Qasim, al-Tayyib, and al-Tahir died in paganism. All his daughters 
lived into Islam, embraced it, and migrated with him to Medina (129). 

Khadija had told Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, who was 
her cousin and a Christian who had studied the scriptures and was a 
scholar, what her slave Maysara had told her that the monk had said and 
how he had seen the two angels shading him. He said, 'If this is true, 
Khadija, verily Muhammad is the prophet of this people. I knew that a 
prophet of this people was to be expected. His time has come,' or words 
to that effect. Waraqa was finding the time of waiting wearisome and used 
to say 'How long ?' Some lines of his on the theme are: 

I persevered and was persistent in remembering 

An anxiety which often evoked tears. And 

Confirmatory evidence kept coming from Khadija. 

Long have I had to wait, O Khadija, 

In the vale of Mecca in spite of my hope 

That I might see the outcome of thy words. 

I could not bear that the words of the monk 

You told me of should prove false: 

That Muhammad should rule over us 

Overcoming those who would oppose him. 

And that a glorious light should appear in the land 

To preserve men from disorders. 

His enemies shall meet disaster 

And his friends shall be victorious. 

Would that I might be there then to see, 122 

For I should be the first of his supporters, 

Joining in that which Quraysh hate 

However loud they shout in that Mecca of theirs. 

I hope to ascend through him whom they all dislike 

To the Lord of the Throne though they are cast down. 

Is it folly not to disbelieve in Him 

Who chose him Who raised the starry heights? 

If they and I live, things will be done 

Which will throw the unbelievers into confusion. 

And if I die, 'tis but the fate of mortals 

To suffer death and dissolution. 

1 Commentators point out that these are not names but epithets (The Pure, The Good) 
applied to the one son 'Abdullah. 

8 4 

The Life of Muhammad 



Quraysh decided to rebuild the Ka'ba when the apostle was thirty-five 
years of age (T. fifteen years after the sacrilegious war). They were plan- 
ning to roof it and feared to demolish it, for it was made of loose stones 
above a man's height, and they wanted to raise it and roof it because men 
had stolen part of the treasure of the Ka'ba which used to be in a well in 
the middle of it. The treasure was found with Duwayk a freedman of 
B. Mulayh b. 'Amr of Khuza'a (130). Quraysh cut his hand off; they say 
that the people who stole the treasure deposited it with Duwayk. 

, 35 (J. Among those suspected were al-Harith b. 'Amir b. Naufal, and Abu 
Ihab b. 'Aziz b. Qays b. Suwayd al-Tamiml who shared the same mother, 
and Abu Lahab b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib. Quraysh alleged that it was they 
who took the Ka'ba's treasure and deposited it with Duwayk, a freedman 
of B. Mulayh, and when Quraysh suspected them they informed against 
Duwayk and so his hand was cut off. It was said that they had left it with 
him, and people say that when Quraysh felt certain that the treasure had 
been with al-Harith they took him to an Arab sorceress and in her rhymed 
utterances she decreed that he should not enter Mecca for ten years be- 
cause he had profaned the sanctity of the Ka'ba. They allege that he was 
driven out and lived in the surrounding country for ten years.) 

Now a ship belonging to a Greek merchant had been cast ashore at 
Judda and became a total wreck. They took its timbers and got them ready 
to roof the Ka'ba. It happened that in Mecca there was a Copt who was a 
carpenter, so everything they needed was ready to hand. Now a snake 
used to come out of the well in which the sacred offerings were thrown and 
sun itself every day on the wall of the Ka'ba. It was an object of terror 
because whenever anyone came near it it raised its head and made a rustling 
noise and opened its mouth, so that they were terrified of it. While it was 
thus sunning itself one day, God sent a bird which seized it and flew off 
with it. Thereupon Quraysh said, 'Now we may hope that God is pleased 

123 with what we propose to do. We have a friendly craftsman, we have got 
the wood and God has rid us of the snake.' When they had decided to pull 
it down and rebuild it Abu Wahb b. 'Amr b. 'A'idh b. 'Abd b. 'Imran b. 
Makhzum (131) got up and took a stone from the Ka'ba and it leapt out of 
his hand so that it returned to its place. He said, 'O Quraysh, do not 
bring into this building ill-gotten gains, the hire of a harlot, nor money 
taken in usury, nor anything resulting from wrong and violence.' People 
ascribe this saying to al-Walid b. al-Mughira b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar b. 

'Abdullah b. Abu Najih al-Makkl told me that he was told on the 
authority of 'Abdullah b. Safwan b. Umayya b. Khalaf b. Wahb b. Hudhafa 
b. Jumah b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy that he saw a son of Ja'da 
b. Hubayra b. Abu Wahb b. 'Amr circumambulating the temple, and when 

The Life of Muhammad 85 

he inquired about him he was told who he was. 'Abdullah b. Safwan said, 
*It was the grandfather of this man (meaning Abu Wahb), who took the 
stone from the Ka'ba when Quraysh decided to demolish it and it sprang 
from his hand and returned to its place, and it was he who said the words 
which have just been quoted.' 

Abu Wahb was the maternal uncle of the apostle's father. He was a 
noble of whom an Arab poet said : 

If I made my camel kneel at Abu Wahb's door, 

It would start the morrow's journey with well filled saddle-bags; 

He was the noblest of the two branches of Lu'ayy b. Ghalib, 

When noble lineage is reckoned. 

Refusing to accept injustice, delighting in giving, 

His ancestors were of the noblest stock. 

A great pile of ashes lie beneath his cooking-pot, 

He fills his dishes with bread topped by luscious meat. 1 

Then Quraysh divided the work among them J the section near the door 
was assigned to B. 'Abdu Manaf and Zuhra. The space between the black 124 
stone and the southern corner, to B. Makhzum and the Qurayshite tribes 
which were attached to them. The back of the Ka'ba to B. Jumah and 
Sahm, the two sons of 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy. The side of the 
hijr to B. 'Abdu'l-Dar b. Qusayy and to B. Asad b. al-'Uzza b. Qusayy, 
and to B. 'Adiy b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy which is the Hatim. 

The people were afraid to demolish the temple, and withdrew in awe 
from it. Al-Walld b. al-Mughira said, 'I will begin the demolition.' So he 
took a pick-axe, went up to it saying the while, 'O God, do not be afraid 2 
(132), O God, we intend only what is best.' Then he demolished the part 
at the two corners. 3 That night the people watched, saying, *We will look 
out ; if he is smitten we won't destroy any more of it and will restore it as it 
was ; but if nothing happens to him then God is pleased with what we are 
doing and we will demolish it.' In the .morning al-Walid returned to the 
work of demolition and the people worked with him, until they got down 
to the foundation *of Abraham* They came on green stones like camel's 
humps joined one to another. 

A certain traditionist told me that a man of Quraysh inserted a crowbar 
between two stones in order to get one of them out, and when he moved the 
stone the whole of Mecca shuddered so they left the foundation alone. 
(T. so they had reached the foundation.) 

I was told that Quraysh found in the corner a writing in Syriac. They 
could not understand it until a Jew read it for them. It was as follows: 'I 
am Allah the Lord of Bakka, I created it on the day that I created heaven 

1 Professor Afnfi reminds me that the second half of this verse is reminiscent of Imru'u'l- 
Qays (1. 12) where the fine fat flesh of the camel is compared with white silk finely woven. 

* The feminine form indicates that the Ka'ba itself is addressed. 
3 Or 'two sacred stones'. 

• . . . • Not in T. 

86 The Life of Muhammad 

and earth and formed the sun and moon, and I surrounded it with seven 
pious angels. It will stand while its two mountains stand, a blessing to its 
people with milk and water,' and I was told that they found in the maqdm 
a writing, 'Mecca is God's holy house, its sustenance comes to it from three 
directions; let its people not be the first to profane it.' 

Layth b. Abu Sulaym alleged that they found a stone in the Ka'ba forty 
years before the prophet's mission, if what they say is true, containing the 
125 inscription 'He that soweth good shall reap joy; he that soweth evil shall 
reap sorrow; can you do evil and be rewarded with good? Nay, as grapes 
cannot be gathered from thorns.' 1 

The tribes of Quraysh gathered stones for the building, each tribe 
collecting them and building by itself until the building was finished up to 
the black stone, where controversy arose, each tribe wanting to lift it to its 
place, until they went their several ways, formed alliances, and got ready 
for battle. The B. 'Abdu'l-Dar brought a bowl full of blood; then they 
and the B. 'Adiy b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy pledged themselves unto death and 
thrust their hands into the blood. For this reason they were called the 
blood-lickers. Such was the state of affairs for four or five nights, and then 
Quraysh gathered in the mosque and took counsel and were equally 
divided on the question. 

A traditionist alleged that Abu Umayya b. al-Mughlra b. 'Abdullah b. 
'Umar b. Makhzum who was at that time the oldest man of Quraysh, urged 
them to make the first man to enter the gate of the mosque umpire in the 
matter in dispute. They did so and the first to come in was the apostle of 
God. When they saw him they said, 'This is the trustworthy one. We are 
satisfied. This is Muhammad.' When he came to them and they informed 
him of the matter he said, 'Give me a cloak,' and when it was brought to 
him he took the black stone and put it inside it and said that each tribe 
should take hold of an end of the cloak and they should lift it together. 
They did this so that when they got it into position he placed it with his 
own hand, and then building went on above it. 

Quraysh used to call the apostle of God before revelation came to him, 
'the trustworthy one' ; and when they had finished the building, according 
to their desire, al-Zubayr the son of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib said about the snake 
which made the Quraysh dread rebuilding the Ka'ba: 

I was amazed that the eagle went straight 
To the snake when it was excited. 
It used to rustle ominously 
And sometimes it would dart forth. 
ia6 When we planned to rebuild the Ka'ba 

It terrified us for it was fearsome. 
When we feared its attack, down came the eagle, 
Deadly straight in its swoop, 

1 A strange place in which to find a quotation from the Gospel; cf. Mt. 7. 16. 

The Life of Muhammad 87 

It bore it away, thus leaving us free 

To work without further hindrance. 

We attacked the building together, 

We had its foundations' and the earth. 

On the morrow we raised the foundation, 

None of our workers wore clothes. 

Through it did God honour the sons of Lu'ayy, 

Its foundation was ever associated with them, 

Banu 'Adly and Murra had gathered there, 

Kilab having preceded them. 

For this the King settled us there in power, 

For reward is to be sought from God (133). 


I do not know whether it was before or after the year of the elephant that 
Quraysh invented the idea of Hums and put it into practice. They said, 
'We are the sons of Abraham, the people of the holy territory, the guardians 
of the temple and the citizens of Mecca. No other Arabs have rights like 
ours or a position like ours. The Arabs recognize none as they recognize 
us, so do not attach the same importance to the outside country as you do 
to the sanctuary, for if you do the Arabs will despise your taboo and will 
say, "They have given the same importance to the outside land as to the 
sacred territory.'" So they gave up the halt at 'Arafa and the departure 
from it, while they recognized that these were institutions of the pilgrimage 
and the religion of Abraham. They considered that other Arabs should 
halt there and depart from the place; but they said, 'We are the people of 127 
the sanctuary, so it is not fitting that we should go out from the sacred 
territory and honour other places as we, the Hums, honour that ; for the 
Hums are the people of the sanctuary.' They then proceeded to deal in the 
same way with Arabs who were born within and without the sacred terri- 
tory. Kinana and Khuza'a joined with them in this (134). 

The Hums went on to introduce innovations for which they had no 128 
warrant. They thought it wrong that they should eat cheese made of sour 
milk or clarify butter while they were in a state of taboo. They would not 
enter tents of camel-hair or seek shelter from the sun except in leather tents 
while they were in this state. They went further and refused to allow 
those outside the haram to bring food in with them when they came on the 
great or little pilgrimage. Nor could they circumambulate the house except 
in the garments of the Hums. If they had no such garments they had to go 
round naked. If any man or woman felt scruples when they had no hums 
garments, then they could go round in their ordinary clothes ; but they had 

1 Qatiaid perhaps = 'uprights'. 

88 The Life of Muhammad 

to throw them away afterwards so that neither they nor anyone else could 
make use of them. 1 

The Arabs called these clothes 'the cast-off'. They imposed all these 
restrictions on the Arabs, who accepted them and halted at 'Arafat, hastened 
from it, and circumambulated the house naked. The men at least went 
naked while the women laid aside all their clothes except a shift wide open 
back or front. An Arab woman who was going round the house thus said : 

Todav some or all of it can be seen, 

But what can be seen I do not make common property! 

Those who went round in the clothes in which they came from outside 
threw them away so that neither they nor anyone else could make use of 
them. An Arab mentioning some clothes which he had discarded and 
could not get again and yet wanted, said: 

It's grief enough that I should return to her 

As though she were a tabooed cast-off in front of the pilgrims. 

i.e. she could not be touched. 

This state of affairs lasted until God sent Muhammad and revealed to 
him when He gave him the laws of His religion and the customs of the 
pilgrimage: 'Then hasten onward from the place whence men hasten 
onwards, and ask pardon of God, for God is forgiving, merciful.' 2 The 
words are addressed to Quraysh and 'men' refer to the Arabs. So in the 
rule of the hajj he hastened them up to 'Arafat and ordered them to halt 
there and to hasten thence. 

In reference to their prohibition of food and clothes at the temple such 
as had been brought from outside the sacred territory God revealed to him: 
'O Sons of Adam, wear your clothes at every mosque and eat and drink and 
be not prodigal, for He loves not the prodigal. Say, Who has forbidden the 
clothes which God has brought forth for His servants and the good things 
which He has provided ? Say, They on the day of resurrection will be only 
for those who in this life believed. Thus do we explain the signs for people 
who have knowledge.' 3 Thus God set aside the restrictions of the Hums 
and the innovations of Quraysh against men's interests when He sent His 

apostle with Islam. 

'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm from 'Uthman 
b. Abu Sulayman b. Jubayr b. Mut'im from his uncle Nafi' b. Jubayr from 
his father Jubayr b. Mut'im said: 'I saw God's apostle before revelation 
came to him and lo he was halting on his beast in 'Arafat with men in the 
midst of his tribe until he quitted it with them— a special grace from God 
to him.' 

1 The survival of the idea of contagious 'holiness' which on the one hand prohibited the 
introduction of profane food into the sanctuary, and when it could not prevent the introduc- 
tion of profane clothes, forbade their use for common purposes after they had come in 
contact with taboo, would seem to indicate an antiquity far greater than that ascribed to 

these practices here. 

" Sura 2. 195. 3 Sura »• 29 ' 

The Life of Muhammad 89 

['Uthman b. Saj from Muhammad b. Ishaq from al-Kalbi from Abu Azr. i. 
Salih, frccdman of Umm Hani from Ibn 'Abbas : The Hums were Quraysh, 1 IS f ' 
kinana, Khuza'a, al-Aus and al-Khazraj, Jutham, B. Rabi'a b. 'Amir 
b. Sa'sa'a. Azd Shanu'a, Judham, Zubayd, B. Dhakwan of B. 
Salim, 'Amr al-Lat, Thaqif, Ghatafan, Ghauth, 'Adwan, 'Allaf, and 
Quda'a. When Quraysh let an Arab marry one of their women they 
stipulated that the offspring should be an Ahmasi following their religion. 
Al-Adram Taym b. Ghalib b. Fihr b. Malik b. al-Nadr b. Kinana married 
his son Majd to the daughter of Taym Rabi'a b. 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a stipulat- 
ing that his children from her should follow the sunna of Quraysh. It is in 
reference to her that Labid b. Rabi'a b. Ja'far al-Kilabi said: 

My people watered the sons of Majd and I 
Water Numayr and the tribes of Hilal. 

Mansur b. 'Ikrima b. Khasafa b. Qays b. 'Aylan married Salm5 d. Dubay'a 
b. 'All b. Ya'sur b. Sa'd b. Qays b. 'Aylan and she bore to him Hawazin. 
When he fell seriously ill she vowed that if he recovered she would make 

him a Hums, and when he recovered she fulfilled her vow The Hums 

strictly observed the sacred months and never wronged their proteges 
therein nor wronged anyone therein. They went round the Ka'ba wearing 
their clothes. If one of them before and at the beginning of Islam was in a 
state of taboo if he happened to be one of the housedwellers, i.e. living in 
houses or villages, he would dig a hole at the back of his house and go in 
and out by it and not enter by the door. The Hums used to say, 'Do not 
respect anything profane and do not go outside the sacred area during the 
hajj' so they cut short the rites of the pilgrimage and the halt at 'Arafa, it 
being in the profane area, and would not halt at it or go forth from it. 
They made their stopping-place at the extreme end of the sacred territory 
at Namira at the open space of al-Ma'ziman, stopping there the night of 
'Arafa and sheltering by day in the trees of Namira and starting from it to 
al-Muzdalifa. When the sun turbaned the tops of the mountains they set 
forth. They were called Hums because of their strictness in their religion. 
. . . The year of Hudaybiya the prophet entered his house. One of the 
Ansar was with him and he stopped at the door, explaining that he was an 
Ahmasi. The apostle said, * I am an Ahmasi too. My religion and yours 
are the same', so the Ansari went into the house by the door as he saw the 
apostle do. 

Outsiders used to circumambulate the temple naked, both men and 
women. The B. 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a and 'Akk were among those who did thus. 
When a woman went round naked she would put one hand behind her and 
the other in front.] 1 

• A great deal more follows in the name of I. 'Abbas. It is doubtful whether it comes 
from 1. 1., because though there is new matter in it, some statements which occur in the 
foregoing are repeated, so that it is probable that they reached Azraqi from another source. 
In the foregoing I have translated only passages which provide additional information. 

9 o 

The Life of Muhammad 



130 Jewish rabbis, Christian monks, and Arab soothsayers had spoken about 
the apostle of God before his mission when his time drew near. As to the 
rabbis and monks, it was about his description and the description of his 
time which they found in their scriptures and what their prophets had 
enjoined upon them. As to the Arab soothsayers they had been visited by 
satans from the jinn with reports which they had secretly overheard before 
they were prevented from hearing by being pelted with stars. Male and 
female soothsayers continued to let fall mention of some of these matters 
to which the Arabs paid no attention until God sent him and these things 
which had been mentioned happened and they recognized them. When 
the prophet's mission came the satans were prevented from listening and 
they could not occupy the seats in which they used to sit and steal the 
heavenly tidings for they were pelted with stars, and the jinn knew that 
that was due to an order which God had commanded concerning mankind. 
God said to His prophet Muhammad when He sent him as he was telling 
him about the jinn when they were prevented from listening and knew 
what they knew and did not deny what they saw ; 'Say, It has been revealed 
to me that a number of the jinn listened and said "We have heard a wonder- 
ful Quran which guides to the right path, and we believe in it and we will 
not associate anyone with our Lord and that He (exalted be the glory of 
our Lord) hath not chosen a wife or a son. A foolish one among us used to 
speak lies against God, and we had thought men and jinn would not speak 
a lie against God and that when men took refuge with the jinn, they 
increased them in revolt," ending with the words: "We used to sit on places 
therein to listen ; he who listens now finds a flame waiting for him. We do 
not know whether evil is intended against those that are on earth or whether 
their lord wishes to guide them in the right path".' 1 When the jinn heard 
the Quran they knew that they had been prevented from listening before 
that so that revelation should not be mingled with news from heaven so 
that men would be confused with the tidings which came from God abrfut 
it when the proof came and doubt was removed; so they believed and 
acknowledged the truth. Then 'They returned to their people warning 
them, saying, O our people we have heard a book which was revealed after 
Moses confirming what went before it, guiding to the truth and to the 
upright path.' 2 

In reference to the saying of the jinn, 'that men took refuge with them 
and they increased them in revolt', Arabs of the Quraysh and others when 
they were journeying and stopped at the bottom of a vale to pass a night 

131 therein used to say, 'I take refuge in the lord of this valley of the jinn to- 
night from the evil that is therein' (135). 

1 Sura 72. x ff. 1 Sura 46. 28. 

The Life of Muhammad 

Ya'qub b. 'Utba b. al-Mughira b. al-Akhnas told me that he was in- 
formed that the first Arabs to be afraid of falling stars when they were 
pelted with them were this clan of Thaqlf, and that they came to one of 
their tribesmen called 'Amr b. Umayya, one of B. Tlaj who was a most 
astute and shrewd man, and asked him if he had noticed this pelting 
with stars. He said: 'Yes, but wait, for if they are the well-known stars 
which guide travellers by land and sea, by which the seasons of summer 
and winter are known to help men in their daily life, which are being 
thrown, then by God! it means the end of the world and the destruc- 
tion of all that is in it. But if they remain constant and other stars are 
being thrown, then it is for some purpose which God intends towards 

Muhammad b. Muslim b. Shihab al-Zuhrl on the authority of 'All b. 
al-Husayn b. 'All b. Abu Talib from 'Abdullah b. al-'Abbas from a number 
of the Ans5r mentioned that the apostle of God said to them, 'What were 
you saying about this shooting star?' They replied, 'We were saying, a 
king is dead, a king has been appointed, a child is born, a child has died.' 
He replied, 'It is not so, but when God has decreed something concerning 132 
His creation the bearers of the throne hear it and praise Him, and those 
below them praise Him, and those lower still praise Him because they 
have praised, and this goes on until the praise descends to the lowest 
heaven where they praise. Then they ask each other why, and are told 
that it is because those above them have done so and they say, "Why 
don't you ask those above you the reason?", and so it goes on until 
they reach the bearers of the throne who say that God has decreed so- 
and-so concerning His creation and the news descends from heaven to 
heaven to the lowest heaven where they discuss it, and the satans steal it 
by listening, mingling it with conjecture and false intelligence. Then they 
convey it to the soothsayers and tell them of it, sometimes being wrong 
and sometimes right, and so the soothsayers are sometimes right and 
sometimes wrong. Then God shut off the satans by these stars with 
which they were pelted, so soothsaying has been cut off today- and no 
longer exists.' 

'Amr b. Abu Ja'far from Muhammad b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Abu Lablba 
from 'All b. al-Husayn b. 'Ali told me the same tradition as that of Ibn 

A learned person told me that a woman of B. Sahm called al-Ghaytala 
who was a soothsayer in the time of ignorance was visited by her familiar 
spirit one night. He chirped beneath her, 1 then he said, 

I know what I know, 

The day of wounding and slaughter. 

1 The reading here varies; the word anqada means the shriek of birds or the creaking 
noise of a door, and can be applied to a man'9 voice. If we read inqadda, it means the fall 
or the swoop of a bird. In view of the chirping and muttering of soothsayers all the world 
over, the first reading seems preferable. 

g2 The Life of Muhammad 

When the Quraysh heard of this they asked what he meant. The spirit 
came to her another night and chirped beneath her saying, 

Death, what is death ? 

In it bones are thrown here and there. 1 

When Quraysh heard of this they could not understand it and decided to 
wait until the future should reveal its meaning. When the battle of Badr 
and Uhud took place in a glen, they knew that this was the meaning of the 
spirit's message (136). 
133 'All b. Nan' al-Jurashl told me that Janb, a tribe from the Yaman, had a 
soothsayer in the time of ignorance, and when the news of the apostle of 
God was blazed abroad among the Arabs, they said to him, 'Look into the 
matter of this man for us', and they gathered at the bottom of the mountain 
where he lived. He came down to them when the sun rose and stood lean- 
ing on his bow. He raised his head toward heaven for a long time and 
began to leap about and say: 

O men, God has honoured and chosen Muhammad, 

Purified his heart and bowels. 

His stay among you, O men, will be short. 

Then he turned and climbed up the mountain whence he had come. 

A person beyond suspicion told me on the authority of 'Abdullah b. 
Ka'b a freedman of 'Uthman b. 'Affan that he was told that when 'Umar b. 
al-Khattab was sitting with the people in the apostle's mosque, an Arab 
came in to visit him. When 'Umar saw him he said, 'This fellow is still a 
polytheist, he has not given up his old religion yet, (or, he said), he was a 
soothsayer in the time of ignorance.' The man greeted him and sat down 
and 'Umar asked him if he was a Muslim; he said that he was. He said, 
'But were you a soothsayer in the time of ignorance?' The man replied, 
'Good God, commander of the faithful, you have thought ill of me and have 
greeted me in a way that I never heard you speak to anyone of your sub- 
jects since you came into power.' 'Umar said, *I ask God's pardon. In the 

1 This ominous oracle can vie with any oracle from Delphi in obscurity. We can render, 
'Glens what are glens?*, and this, as the sequel shows, is the way Ibn Ishaq understood the 
enigma when the battles of Badr and Uhud took place in glens. But such a translation ig- 
nores the fact that the antecedent flU (not jihd) must be a singular, and no form shu'ub is 
known in the singular. This translation carries with it the necessity- of rendering the follow- 
ing line thus, 'Wherein Ka'b is lying prostrate', and commentators are unanimous that 
'Ka'b' refers to the tribe of Ka'b b. Lu'ayy, who provided most of the slain in the battles 
of Badr and Uhud and so were found 'Thrown on their sides'. (I can find no authority for 
translating ka'b by 'heels'— Fersen— as do Weil and G. Holscher, Die Profeten, Leipzig, 
1914, p. 88. 'Ankle' in the singular is the meaning, and this can hardly be right.) In view 
of the proof text cited by Lane, 26166, where sha'b (people) and Ka'b (the tribe) and fc db 
(bones used as dice like our knuckle bones) are all found in a single couplet, I am inclined to 
think that the oracle is still further complicated and that a possible translation is that given 
above. This, at any rate, has the merit of correct syntax since it requires us to read sha'ub. 
The selection of a word susceptible of so many meanings which contains the name of a 
well-known tribe provides an excellent example of oracular prophecy. 

The Life of Muhammad 93 

time of ignorance we did worse than this ; we worshipped idols and images 
until God honoured us •with his apostle and* with Islam.' The man 
replied, 'Yes, by God, I was a soothsayer.* 'Umar said, 'Then tell me what 
(T. was the most amazing thing) your familiar spirit communicated to 
you.' He said, 'He came to me a month or so before Islam and said: 

Have you considered the jinn and their confusion, 
Their religion a despair and a delusion, 

Clinging to their camels' saddle cloths in profusion?' (137). 134 

'Abdullah b. Ka'b said, Thereupon 'Umar said, 'I was standing by an 
idol with a number of the Quraysh in the time of ignorance when an Arab 
sacrificed a calf. We were standing by expecting to get a part of it, when I 
heard a voice more penetrating than I have ever heard coming out of the 
belly of the calf (this was a month or so before Islam), saying: 

O blood red one, 
The deed is done, 
A man will cry 
Beside God none.' (138) 

Such is what I have been told about soothsayers among the Arabs. 1 


'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada told me that some of his tribesmen said: 'What 
induced us to accept Islam, apart from God's mercy and guidance, was 
what we used to hear the Jews say. We were polytheists worshipping 
idols, while they were people of the scriptures with knowledge which we 
did not possess. There was continual enmity between us, and when we got 
the better of them and excited their hate, they said, "The time of a prophet 
who is to be sent has now come. We will kill you with his aid as *Ad and 
Iram perished." 2 We often used to hear them say this. When God sent 
His apostle we accepted him when he called us to God and we realized 
what their threat meant and joined him before them. We believed in him 
but they denied him. Concerning us and them, God revealed the verse in 
the chapter of the Cow: "And when a book from God came to them con- 
firming what they already had (and they were formerly asking for victory 
over the unbelievers), when what they knew came to them, they disbelieved 
it. The curse of God is on the unbelievers." ' (139) 3 

Salih b. Ibrahim b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf from Mahmud b. Labld, 
brother of B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal, from Salama b. Salama b. Waqsh (Salama 135 
was present at Badr) said : 'We had a Jewish neighbour among B. 'Abdu'l- 
Ashhal, who came out to us one day from his house. (At that time I was the 

1 A much longer account is given by S. 135-40. 

1 If this report is true it indicates that the Messianic hope was still alive among the 
Arabian Jews. 3 Sura 2. 83. 

Not in T "45- 

94 The Life of Muhammad 

youngest person in my house, wearing a small robe and lying in the court- 
yard.) He spoke of the resurrection, the reckoning, the scales, paradise, 
and hell. When he spoke of these things to the polytheists who thought 
that there could be no rising after death, they said to him, "Good gracious 
man! Do you think that such things could be that men can be raised from 
the dead to a place where there is a garden and a fire in which they will be 
recompensed for their deeds?" "Yes," he said, "and by Him whom men 
swear by, he would wish that he might be in the largest oven in his house 
rather than in that fire: that they would heat it and thrust him into it and 
plaster it over if he could get out from that fire on the following day." 
When they asked for a sign that this would be, he said, pointing with his 
hand to Mecca and the Yaman, "A prophet will be sent from the direction 
of this land." When they asked when he would appear, he looked at me, 
the youngest person, and said: "This boy, if he lives his natural term, will 
see him," and by God, a night and a day did not pass before God sent 
Muhammad his apostle and he was living among us. We believed in him, 
but he denied him in his wickedness and envy. When we asked, "Aren't 
you the man who said these things ?" he said, "Certainly, but this is not the 

'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada on the authority of a shaykh of the B. Qurayza 
said to me, 'Do you know how Tha'laba b. Sa'ya and Asld b. Sa'ya and 
Asad b. 'Ubayd of B. Hadl, brothers of B. Qurayza, became Muslims ? 
They were with them during the days of ignorance ; then they became their 
masters in Islam.' When I said that I did not know, he told me that a Jew 
from Syria, Ibnu'l-Hayyaban, came to us some years before Islam and dwelt 
136 among us. 4 1 have never seen a better man than he who was not a Muslim. 
When we were living in the time of drought we asked him to come with us 
and pray for rain. He declined to do so unless we paid him something, 
and when we asked how much he wanted, he said, "A bushel of dates or 
two bushels of barley." When we had duly paid up he went outside our 
harra and prayed for rain for us; and by God, hardly had he left his place 
when clouds passed over us and it rained. Not once nor twice did he do 
this. Later when he knew that he was about to die he said, "O Jews, what 
do you think made me leave a land of bread and wine to come to a land of 
hardship and hunger?" When we said that we could not think why, he said 
that he had come to this country expecting to see the emergence of a 
prophet whose time was at hand. This was the town where he would 
migrate and he was hoping that he would be sent so that he could follow 
him. "His time has come," he said, "and don't let anyone get to him before 
you, O Jews; for he will be sent to shed blood and to take captive the 
women and children of those who oppose him. Let not that keep you back 
from him." ' 

When the apostle of God was sent and besieged B. Qurayza, those young 
men who were growing youths said, 'This is the prophet of whom Ibnu'l- 
Hayyaban testified to you.' They said that he was not; but the others 

The Life of Muhammad 95 

asserted that he had been accurately described, so they went and became 
Muslims and saved their lives, their property, and their families. Such is 
what I have been told about the Jewish reports. 1 


*Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada al-Ansarl told me on the authority of Mahmud 
b. Labid from 'Abdullah b. 'Abbas as follows: Salman said while I listened 
to his words: 'I am a Persian from Ispahan from a village called Jayy. My 137 
father was the principal landowner in his village and I was dearer to him 
than the whole world. His love for me went to such lengths that he shut 
me in his house as though I were a slave girl. I was such a zealous Magian 
that I became keeper of the sacred fire, replenishing it and not letting it go 
out for a moment. Now my father owned a large farm, and one day when 
he could not attend to his farm he told me to go to it and learn about it, 
giving me certain instructions. "Do not let yourself be detained," he said, 
"because you arc more important to me than my farm and worrying about 
you will prevent me going about my business." So I started out for the 
farm, and when I passed by a Christian church I heard the voices of the 
men praying. I knew nothing about them because my father kept me shut 
up in his house. When I heard their voices I went to see what they were 
doing; their prayers pleased me and I felt drawn to their worship and 
thought that it was better than our religion, and I decided that I would not 
leave them until sunset. So I did not go to the farm. When I asked them 
where their religion originated, they said "Syria". I returned to my father 
who had sent after me because anxiety on my account had interrupted all 
his work. He asked me where I had been and reproached me for not obey- 
ing his instructions. I told him that I had passed by some men who were 
praying in their church and was so pleased with what I saw of their religion 
that I stayed with them until sunset. He said, "My son, there is no good in 
that religion; the religion of your fathers is better than that." "No," I said, 
" It is better than our religion." My father was afraid of what I would do, so 
he bound me in fetters and imprisoned me in his house. 

'I sent to the Christians and asked them if they would tell me when a 
caravan of Christian merchants came from Syria. They told me, and I said 
to them: "When they have finished their business and want to go back to 
their own country, ask them if they will take me." They did so and I cast 
off the fetters from my feet and went with them to Syria. Arrived there I 138 
asked for the most learned person in their religion and they directed me to 
the bishop. I went to him and told him that I liked his religion and should 
like to be with him and serve him in his church, to learn from him and to 
pray with him. He invited me to come in and I did so. Now he was a 
bad man who used to command people to give alms and induced them to 

■ So C, but the beginning of the story suggests that we should read ahbar 'from the 
Jewish rabbis'. 

0 6 The Life of Muhammad 

do so and when they brought him money he put it in his own coffers and 
did not give it to the poor, until he had collected seven jars of gold and 
silver. I conceived a violent hatred for the man when I saw what he was 
doing. Sometime later when he died and the Christians came together to 
bury him I told them that he was a bad man who exhorted them and per- 
suaded them to give alms, and when they brought money put it in his 
coffers and gave nothing to the poor. They asked how I could possibly 
know this, so I led them to his treasure and when I showed them the place 
they brought out seven jars full of gold and silver. As soon as they saw 
them they said, "By God, we will never bury the fellow," so they crucified 
him and stoned him and appointed another in his place. 

'I have never seen any non-Muslim whom I consider more virtuous, 
more ascetic, more devoted to the next life, and more consistent night and 
day than he. I loved him as I had never loved anyone before. I stayed 
with him a long time until when he was about to die I told him how I loved 
him and asked him to whom he would confide me and what orders he 
would give me now that he was about to die. He said, "My dear son, I do 
not know anyone who is as I am. Men have died and have either altered or 
abandoned most of their true religion, except a man in Mausil; he follows 
my faith, so join yourself to him. So when he died and was buried, I 
attached myself to the bishop of Mausil telling him that so-and-so had 
confided me to him when he died and told me that he followed the same 

139 path. I stayed with him and found him just as he had been described, but 
it was not long before he died and I asked him to do for me what his pre- 
decessor had done. He replied that he knew of only one man, in Nasibin, 
who followed the same path and he recommended me to go to him. 1 

'I stayed with this good man in Nasibin for some time and when he died 
he recommended me to go to a colleague in 'Ammuriya. I stayed with him 
for some time and laboured until I possessed some cows and a small flock 
of sheep ; then when he was about to die I asked him to recommend me to 
someone else. He told me that he knew of no one who followed his way of 
life, but that a prophet was about to arise who, would be sent with the 
religion of Abraham ; he would come forth in Arabia and would migrate to 
a country between two lava belts, between which were palms. He has un- 
mistakable marks. He will eat what is given to him but not things given 
as alms. Between his shoulders is the seal of prophecy. "If you are able to 
go to that country, do so." Then he died and was buried and I stayed in 

140 'Ammuriya as long as God willed. Then a party of Kalbite merchants 
passed by and I asked them to take me to Arabia and I would give them 
those cows and sheep of mine. They accepted the offer and took me with 
them until we reached Wadi'l-Qura, when they sold me to a Jew as a slave. 

1 I have abbreviated the repetitive style of the narrative which is that of popular stories 
all the world over. The same words, and the same details, occur in each paragraph with the 
change of names: Mausil, Nasibin, 'Ammuriya, leading up to the obvious climax, Muham- 

The Life of Muhammad 97 

I saw the palm-trees and I hoped that this would be the town which -my 
master had described to me, for I was not certain. Then a cousin of his 
from B. Qurayza of Medina came and bought me and carried me away to 
Medina, and, by God, as soon as I saw it I recognized it from my master's 
description. I dwelt there and the apostle of God was sent and lived in 
Mecca ; but I did not hear him mentioned because I was fully occupied as a 
slave. Then he migrated to Medina and as I was in the top of a palm-tree 
belonging to my master, carrying out my work while my master sat below, 
suddenly a cousin of his came up to him and said: "God smite the B. 
Qayla! They arc gathering at this moment in Quba' round a man who has 
come to them from Mecca today asserting that he is a prophet." (140) 

'When I heard this I was seized with trembling (141), so that I thought 
I should fall on my master; so I came down from the palm and began to 
say to his cousin, "What did you say? What did you say?" My master 
was angered and gave me a smart blow, saying, "What do you mean by 
this ? Get back to your work." I said, "Never mind, I only wanted to find 
out the truth of his report." Now I had a little food which I had gathered, 141 
and I took it that evening to the apostle of God who was in Quba' and said, 
"I have heard that you are an honest man and that your companions are 
strangers in want ; here is something for alms, for I think that you have 
more right to it than others." So I gave it to him. The apostle said to his 
companions, "Eat!" but he did not hold out his own hand and did not eat. 
I said to myself, "That is one;" then I left him and collected some food 
and the apostle went to Medina. Then I brought it to him and said, "I see 
that you do not eat food given as alms, here is a present which I freely give 
you." The apostle ate it and gave his companions some. I said, "That's 
two;" then I came to the apostle when he was in Baqi'u-'l-Gharqad' where 
he had followed the bier of one of his companions. Now I had two cloaks, 
and as he was sitting with his companions, I saluted him and went round 
to look at his back so that I could see whether the seal which my master 
had described to me was there. When the apostle saw me looking at his 
back he knew that I was trying to find out the truth of what had been 
described to mc, so he threw off his cloak laying bare his back and I looked 
at the seal and recognized it. Then I bent over him 2 kissing him 2 and weep- 
ing. The apostle said, "Come here;" so I came and sat before him and 
told him my story as I have told you, O b. 'Abbas. The apostle wanted 
his companions to hear my story.* Then servitude occupied Salman so 
that he could not be at Badr and Uhud with the apostle. 

Salman continued: 'Then the apostle said to me, "Write an agreement;" 
so I wrote to my master agreeing to plant three hundred palm-trees for him, 
digging out the base, and to pay forty okes of gold. The apostle called on 
his companions to help me, which they did ; one with thirty little palms, 
another with twenty, another with fifteen, and another with ten, each help- 
ing as much as he could until the three hundred were complete. The 

1 The cemetery of Medina which lies outside the town. 2 Or 'it'. 

B 4oao H 

98 The Life of Muhammad 

apostle told me to go and dig the holes for them, saying that when I had 
14a done so he would put them in with his own hand. Helped by my com- 
panions I dug the holes and came and told him ; so we all went out together, 
and as we brought him the palm shoots he planted them with his own hand ; 
and by God, not one of them died. Thus. I had delivered the palm-trees, 
but the money was still owing. Now the apostle had been given a piece of 
gold as large as a hen's egg from one of the mines' and he summoned me 
and told me to take it and pay my debt with it. "How far will this relieve 
me of my debt, O Apostle of God?" I said. "Take it," he replied, "for 
God will pay your debt with it." So I took it and weighed it out to them, 
and by God, it weighed forty okes, and so I paid my debt with it and Sal- 
man was free. I took part with the Apostle in the battle of the Ditch as a 
free man and thereafter I was at every other battle.' 

Yazid b. Abu Habib from a man of 'Abdu'l-Qays from Salman told me 
that the latter said: 'When I said, "How far will this relieve me of my 
debt?" the apostle took it and turned it over upon his tongue, then he said, 
"Take it and pay them in full" ; so I paid them in full, forty okes.' 2 

'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada on the authority of a trustworthy informant 
from 'Umar b. 'Abdu'l-'AzIz b. Marwan said that he was told that Salman 
the Persian told the apostle that his master in 'Ammuriya told him to go to 
a certain place in Syria where there was a man who lived between two 
thickets. Every year as he used to go from one to the other, the sick used 
to stand in his way and everyone he prayed for was healed. He said, 'Ask 
him ..bout this religion which you seek, for he can tell you of it.' So I went 
on until I came to the place I had been told of, and I found that people 
had gathered there with their sick until he came out to them that night 
passing from one thicket to the other. The people came to him with their 
sick and everyone he prayed for was healed. They prevented me from 
getting to him so that I could not approach him until he entered the 
143 thicket he was making for, but I took hold of his shoulder. He asked me 
who I was as he turned to me and I said, 'God have mercy on you, tell me 
about the Hanifiya, the religion of Abraham.' He replied, 'You are asking 
about something men do not inquire of today; the time has come near 
when a prophet will be sent with this religion from the people of the 
haram. Go to him, for he will bring you to it.' Then he went into the 
thicket. The apostle said to Salman, 'If you have told me the truth, you 
met Jesus the son of Mary.' 


One day when the Quraysh had assembled on a feast day to venerate and 
circumambulate the idol to which they offered sacrifices, this being a feast 

1 For an interesting account of the reopening of an ancient mine in the Wajh-Yanbu* area 
of the Hijaz see K. S. Twitchell, Saudi Arabia, Princeton, 1947, pp. 159 f. Kufic inscrip- 
tions, said to date from A.D. 750, were found there, and this may well have been one of 'King 
Solomon's mines'. 1 The oke being roughly an ounce, a miracle is implied. 

The Life of Muhammad 99 

which they held annually, four men drew apart secretly and agreed to keep 
their counsel in the bonds of friendship. They were (i) Waraqa b. Naufal 
b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Luayy; 
(ii) 'Ubaydullah b. Jahsh b. Ri'ab b. Ya'mar b. Sabra b. Murra b. Kablr 
b. Ghanm b. Dudan b. Asad b. Khuzayma, whose mother was Umayma 
d. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib; (iii) 'Uthman b. al-Huwayrith b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l- 
'Uzza b. Qusayy; and (iv) Zayd b. 'Amr b. Nufayl b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. 
'Abdullah b. Qurt b. Riyah 1 b. Razah b. 'Adiyy b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy. They 
were of the opinion that their people had corrupted the religion of their 
father Abraham, and that the stone they went round was of no account; it 
could neither hear, nor see, nor hurt, nor help. 'Find for yourselves a 
religion,' they said; 'for by God you have none.' So they went their 
several ways in the lands, seeking the Hanlfiya, the religion of Abraham. 

Waraqa attached himself to Christianity and studied its scriptures until 
he had thoroughly mastered them. 'Ubaydullah went on searching until 
Islam came; then he migrated with the Muslims to Abyssinia taking with 
him his wife who was a Muslim, Umm Habiba, d. Abu Sufyan. When he 
arrived there he adopted Christianity, parted from Islam, and died a 
Christian in Abyssinia. 

^ Muhammad b. Ja'far b. al-Zubayr told me that when he had become a 
Christian 'Ubaydullah as he passed the prophet's companions who were there 
used to say: 'We see clearly, but your eyes are only half open,' i.e. 'We 
see, but you are only trying to see and cannot see yet.' He used the word 
sasa* because when a puppy tries to open its eyes to sec, it only half sees. 
The other word faqqaha means to open the eyes. After his death the 
apostle married his widow Umm Habiba. Muhammad b. 'All b. Husayn 
told me that the apostle sent 'Amr b. Umayya al-Damri to the Negus to ask 
forh er and he married him to her. He gave her as a dowry, on the apostle's 
behalf, four hundred dinars. Muhammad b. 'All said, 'We think that 
'Abdu'l-Malik b. Marwan fixed the maximum dowry of women at four 
hundred dinars because of this precedent.* The man who handed her over 
to the prophet was Khalid b. Sa'id b. al-'As. 

'Uthman b. al-Huwayrith went to the Byzantine emperor and became 
a Christian. He was given high office there (142). 

Zayd b. 'Amr stayed as he was: he accepted neither Judaism nor Chris- 
tianity. He abandoned the religion of his people and abstained from idols, 
animals that had died, blood, and things offered to idols. 2 He forbade the 
killing of infant daughters, saying that he worshipped the God of Abraham, 
and he publicly rebuked his people for their practices. 

Hisham b. 'Urwa from his father on the authority of his mother Asma' 
d. Abu Bakr said that she saw Zayd as a very old man leaning his back on 
the Ka'ba and saying, 'O Quraysh, By Him in whose hand is the soul of 

* So c. 

clear The '"fiance of the Jewish formula, taken over by early Christianity (Acts 15. 29) is 

I00 The Life of Muhammad 

Zayd, not one of you follows the religion of Abraham but V Then he said : 

145 'O God, if I knew how you wished to be worshipped I would so worship 
you ; but I do not know.' Then he prostrated himself on the palms of his 

I was told that his son, Sa'id b. Zayd, and 'Umar b. al-Khattab, who 
was his nephew, said to the apostle, 'Ought we to ask God's pardon for 
Zayd b. 'Amr?' He replied, 'Yes, for he will be raised from the dead as the 
sole representative of a whole people.' 

Zayd b. 'Amr. b. Nufayl composed the follov 
people and the treatment he received from them: 

Am I to worship one lord or a thousand ? 
If there are as many as you claim, 
I renounce al-Lat and al-'Uzza both of them 
As any strong-minded person would. 
I will not worship al-'Uzza and her two daughters, 
Nor will I visit the two images of the BanG 'Amr. 
I will not worship Hubal 1 though he was our lord 
In the days when I had little sense. 
I wondered (for in the night much is strange 
Which in daylight is plain to the discerning), 
That God had annihilated many men 
Whose deeds were thoroughly evil 
And spared others through the piety of a people 
So that a little child could grow to manhood. 
A man may languish for a time and then recover 
As the branch of a tree revives after rain. 
I serve my Lord the compassionate 
That the forgiving Lord may pardon my sin, 
So keep to the fear of God your Lord ; 
While you hold to that you will not perish. 
You will see the pious living in gardens, 
While for the infidels hell fire is burning. 
Shamed in life, when they die 
Their breasts will contract in anguish. 

Zayd also said: (143) 

146 To God I give my praise and thanksgiving, 
A sure word that will not fail as long as time lasts, 
To the heavenly King— there is no God beyond Him 
And no lord can draw near to Him. 
Beware, O men, of what follows death! 
You can hide nothing from God. 

« This is the reading of al-Kalbi, but all MSS. have Ghanm, a deity unknown. Cf. also 
Yaq. iii. 665. 8. 

The Life of Muhammad 101 

Beware of putting another beside God, 

For the upright way has become clear. 

Mercy I implore, others trust in the jinn, 

But thou, my God, art our Lord and our hope. 

I am satisfied with thee, O God, as a Lord, 

And will not worship another God beside thee. 

Thou of thy goodness and mercy 

Didst send a messenger to Moses as a herald. 

Thou saidst to him, Go thou and Aaron, 

And summon Pharaoh the tyrant to turn to God 

And say to him, 'Did you spread out this (earth) without a support 

Until it stood fast as it does?* 

Say to him 'Did you raise this (heaven) without support? 

What a fine builder then you were!' 

Say to him, 'Did you set the moon in the middle thereof 

As a light to guide when night covered it?' 

Say to him, 'Who sent forth the sun by day 

So that the earth it touched reflected its splendour?' 

Say to him, 'Who planted seeds in the dust 

That herbage might grow and wax great ? 

And brought forth its seeds in the head of the plant ?' 

Therein are signs for the understanding. 

Thou in thy kindness did deliver Jonah 

Who spent nights in the belly of the fish. 

Though I glorify thy name, I often repeat 

'O Lord forgive my sins.' 1 

O Lord of creatures, bestow thy gifts and mercy upon me 
And bless my sons and property. 

Zayd b. 'Amr in reproaching his wife Safiya, d. al-Hadrami (144) 
said: 2 

Now Zayd had determined to leave Mecca to travel about in search of 
the Hanif iya, the religion of Abraham, and whenever Safiya saw that he 
had got ready to travel she told al-Khattab b. Nufayl, who was his uncle 
and his brother by the same mother. 1 He used to reproach him for 
forsaking the religion of his people. He had instructed Safiya to tell him 
if she saw him getting ready to depart ; and then Zayd said : 

Don't keep me back in humiliation, 
O Safiya. It is not my way at all. 

\ w 1 should " dd to my sins un,CM thou forgavest mc'. 
described* ** *" d '* rMerVed tiH the circum «»"«» which gave rise to the poem have been 

3 This was because his mother was first married to Nufayl and gave birth to al-Khattab- 
ilme^oTe^! 1 H " ** ^ " *** ,hui *■ doub,c 

102 The Life of Muhammad 

When I fear humiliation 

I am a brave man whose steed is submissive. 1 
A man who persistently frequents the gates of kings 
Whose camel crosses the desert ; 
One who severs ties with others 

Whose difficulties can be overcome without (the aid of) friends. 

A donkey only accepts humiliation 

When its coat is worn out. 

It says, 4 1 will never give in 

Because the load chafes my sides.' 2 

My brother, (my mother's son and then my uncle), 

Uses words which do not please me. 

When he reproaches me I say, 

'I have no answer for him.' 

Yet if I wished I could say things 

Of which I hold the keys and door. 

I was told by one of the family of Zayd b. 'Amr b. Nufayl that when 
Zayd faced the Ka'ba inside the mosque he used to say, 'Labbayka in truth, 
in worship and in service 3 

I take refuge in what Abraham took refuge 
When he stood and faced the qibla* 

Then he said : 

A humble prisoner, O God, my face in the dust, 
Whatever thy commandment do I must. 
148 Pride I seek not, but piety's boon. 

The traveller at midday is not as he who sleeps at noon (145). 

And Zayd said : 

I submit myself to him to whom 

The earth which bears mighty rocks is subject. 

I le spread it out and when He saw it was settled 

Upon the waters, He fixed the mountains on it. 

I submit myself to Him to whom clouds which bear 

Sweet water are subject. 

When they are borne along to a land 

They obediently pour copious rain upon it. 

Now al-Khattab had *o harassed Zayd that he forced him to withdraw 
to the upper part of Mecca, and he stopped in the mountain of Hira' facing 
the town. Al-Khattab gave instructions to the young irresponsible men of 
Quraysh that they should not let him enter Mecca and he was able to do so 

1 So A.Dh. Perhaps mushayya means 'quick to take leave'. 

2 So A.Dh., but one would expect fildbuh to mean 'his tough ones'. 

3 i.e. 'Here I am as a sincere worshipper'. 

The Life of Muhammad 


in secret only. When they got to know of that they told al-Khaftab and 
drove him out and harassed him because of their fear that he would show 
their religion in its true colours and that some would join him in seceding 
from it. He said, making much of its sanctity against those of his people 
who treated it as ordinary: 

O God, I am of the holy land, no outsider, 
My house is in the centre of the place 
Hard by al-$afa. 
It is no home of error.' 

Then he went forth seeking the religion of Abraham, questioning monks 
and Rabbis until he had traversed al-Mausil and the whole of Mesopo- 
tamia ; then he went through the whole of Syria until he came to a monk in 
the high ground of Balqa. 2 This man, it is alleged, was well instructed in 
Christianity. He asked him about the Hanlfiya, the religion of Abraham, 
and the monk replied, 'You are seeking a religion to which no one today 
can guide you, but the time of a prophet who will come forth from your 149 
own country which you have just left has drawn near. He will be sent with 
the Hanlfiya, the religion of Abraham, so stick to it, for he is about to be 
sent now and this is his time.' Now Zayd had sampled Judaism and Chris- 
tianity and was not satisfied with either of them j so at these words he went 
away at once making for Mecca ; but when he was well inside the country 
of Lakhm he was attacked and killed. 

Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad composed this elegy over him: 

You were altogether on the right path Ibn 'Amr, 

You have escaped hell's burning oven 

By serving the one and only God 

And abandoning vain idols. 

And by attaining the religion which you sought 

Not being unmindful of the unity of your Lord 

You have reached a noble dwelling 

Wherein you will rejoice in your generous treatment. 

You will meet there the friend of God, 3 

Since you were not a tyrant ripe for hell, 

For the mercy of God reaches men, 

Though they be seventy valleys deep below the earth (146). 



Among the things which have reached me about what Jesus the Son of 
Mary stated in the Gospel which he received from God for the followers 
of the Gospel, in applying a term to describe the apostle of God, is the 

1 One would expect mi^alla for madalla in view of what has been said about the Hums. 
z The district of which 'Amman was the capital. 1 i.e. Abraham. 


The Life of Muhammad 

following. It is extracted from what John the Apostle set down for them 
when he wrote the Gospel for them from the Testament of Jesus Son of 
Mary: 'He that hatcth me hath hated the Lord. And if I had not done in 
their presence works which none other before me did, they had not. had sin: 
150 but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will over- 
come me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the law must be ful- 
filled, "They hated me without a cause" (i.e. without reason). But when 
the Comforter has come whom God will send to you from the Lord's 
presence, and the spirit of truth which will have gone forth from the Lord's 
presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been 
with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that ye 
should not be in doubt." 

The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muham- 
mad; 'in Greek he is the paraclete. 


When Muhammad the apostle of God reached the age of forty God sent 
him in compassion to mankind, 'as an evangelist to all men'. 2 Now God 
had made a covenant with every prophet whom he had sent before him 
that he should believe in him, testify to his truth and help him against his 
adversaries, and he required of them that they should transmit that to 
everyone who believed in them, and they carried out their obligations in 
that respect. God said to Muhammad, 'When God made a covenant with 
the prophets (He said) this is the scripture and wisdom which I have given 
you, afterwards an apostle will come confirming what you know that you 
may believe in him and help him.' He said, 'Do you accept this and take up 
my burden ?' i.e. the burden of my agreement which I have laid upon you. 
They said, 'We accept it.' He answered, 'Then bear witness and I am a 
witness with you.' 3 Thus God made a covenant with all the prophets that 
they should testify to his truth and help him against his adversaries and 

1 The passage quoted is John 15. 23 ff. It is interesting to note that the citation comes 
from the Palestinian Syriac Lectionary and not from the ordinary Bible of the Synac-speak- 
ing Churches. The text is corrupt in one or two places; e.g. the phrase 'puffed up with 
pride and think that they will overcome me'. Bafiru is an obvious corruption of nazaru, 
which agrees with the Syriac and underlying Greek. Wasannu seems to be another attempt 
to make sense of the passage. The next word I am unable to explain. The most interesting 
word is that rendered 'Comforter' which we find in the Palestinian Lectionary, but all other 
Syriac versions render 'paraclete', following the Greek. This word was well established in 
the Hebrew- and Aramaic-speaking world. The menahhemana in Syriac means the life- 
giver and especially one who raises from the dead. Obviously such a meaning is out of place 
here and what is meant is one who consoles and comforts people for the loss of one dear to 
them. This is the meaning in the Talmud and Targum. It ought to be pointed out that by 
the omission of the words 'that is written* before 'in the law' quite another meaning is given 
to the prophecy. The natural rendering would be 'the word that concerns the Nam lis must 
be fulfilled'. To Muslims the Namus was the angel Gabriel. Furthermore, the last words 
are translated as the ordinary Arab reader would understand tashukkil; but in Syrian Arabic 
it could bear the meaning of the Gospel text 'stumble'. See further my article in Al-Anda- 
lus, xv, fasc. 2 (1950), 289-96. 2 Sura 34. 27. J Sura 3. 75. 

The Life of Muhammad 105 

they transmitted that obligation to those who believed in them among the 
two monotheistic religions. 

(T. One whom I do not suspect told me from Sa'Id b. Abu 'Aruba from T- "4* 
Qatada b. Di'ama al-Sadusi from AbQ'l-Jald: 'The Furqan came down on 
the 14th night of Ramadan. Others say, No, but on the 17th; and in sup- 
port of this they appeal to God's word: 'And what we sent down to our 
servant on the day of al- Furqan, the day the two companies met' 1 which 
was the meeting of the apostle and the polythcists at Badr, and that took 
place on the morning of Ramadan 17th.) 

Al-Zuhri related from 'Urwa b. Zubayr that 'A'isha told him that when 151 
Allah desired to honour Muhammad and have mercy on His servants by 
means of him, the first sign of prophethood vouchsafed to the apostle was 
true visions, resembling the brightness of daybreak, which were shown to 
him in his sleep. And Allah, she said, made him love solitude so that he 
liked nothing better than to be alone. 

'Abdu'l-Malik b. 'Ubaydullah b. Abu Sufyan b. al-'Ala* b. Jariya the 
Thaqafite who had a retentive memory related to me from a certain scholar 
that the apostle at the time when Allah willed to bestow His grace upon 
him and endow him with prophethood would go forth for his affair and 
journey far afield until he reached the glens of Mecca and the beds of its 
valleys where no house was in sight ; and not a stone or tree that he passed 
by but would say, 'Peace unto thee, O apostle of Allah.' And the apostle 
would turn to his right and left and look behind him and he would see 
naught but trees and stones. Thus he stayed seeing and hearing so long as 
it pleased Allah that he should stay. Then Gabriel came to him with the 
gift of God's grace whilst he was on Hira' in the month of Ramadan. 
' Wahb b. Kaisan a client of the family of al-Zubayr told me: I heard 
'Abdullah b. al-Zubayr say to 'Ubayd b. 'Umayr b. Qatada the Laythite, 
'O 'Ubayd tell us how began the prophethood which was first bestowed 
on the apostle when Gabriel came to him.' And 'Ubayd in my presence 
related to 'Abdullah and those with him as follows : The apostle would pray 1 52 
in seclusion on Hira' every year for a month to practise tahannuth as was 
the custom of Quraysh in heathen days. Tahannuth is religious devotion. 
Abu Talib said: 

By Thaur and him who made Thabir firm in its place 

And by those going up to ascend Hira' and coming down (147). 2 

Wahb b. Kaisan told me that 'Ubayd said to him: Every year during 
that month the apostle would pray in seclusion and give food to the poor 
that came to him. And when he completed the month and returned from 
his seclusion, first of all before entering his house he would go to the Ka'ba 
and walk round it seven times or as often as it pleased God ; then he would 
go back to his house until in the year when God sent him, in the month of 

1 Sura 5. 42. 

* Thaur and Thabir are mountains near Mecca. The poem is given on p. 173; cf. Yaq. 
i. 938. 

106 The Life of Muhammad 

Ramadan in which God willed concerning him what He willed of His grace, 
the apostle set forth to Hira' as was his wont, and his family with him. 
When it was the night on which God honoured him with his mission and 
showed mercy on His servants thereby, Gabriel brought him the command 
of God. 'He came to me,' said the apostle of God, 'while I was asleep, with 
a coverlet of brocade whereon was some writing, and said, "Read!" I said, 
"What shall I read?" He pressed me with it so tightly that I thought it 
was death; then he let me go and said, "Read!" I said, "What shall I 
read ?" He pressed me with it again so that I thought it was death ; then he 
let me go and said "Read!" I said, "What shall I read?" He pressed me 
with it the third time so that I thought it was death and said "Read!" I 
153 said, "What then shall I read?"— and this I said only to deliver myself 
from him, lest he should do the same to me again. He said: 

"Read in the name of thy Lord who created, 
Who created man of blood coagulated. 
Read! Thy Lord is the most beneficent, 
W ho taught by the pen, 
Taught that which they knew not unto men."' 

T- 1 1 50 So I read it, and he departed from me. And I awoke from my sleep, and it 
was as though these words were written on my heart. (T. Now none of 
God's creatures was more hateful to me than an (ecstatic) poet or a man 
possessed : I could not even look at them. I thought, Woe is me poet or 
possessed — Never shall Quraysh say this of me! I will go to the top of the 
mountain and throw myself down that I may kill myself and gain rest. So 
I went forth to do so and then) when I was midway on the mountain, I 
heard a voice from heaven saying, "O Muhammad! thou art the apostle of 
God and I am Gabriel." I raised my head towards heaven to see (who was 
speaking), and lo, Gabriel in the form of a man with feet astride the horizon, 
saying, "O Muhammad! thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel." 
I stood gazing at him, (T. and that turned me from my purpose) moving 
neither forward nor backward ; then I began to turn my face away from 
him, but towards whatever region of the sky I looked, I saw him as before. 
And I continued standing there, neither advancing nor turning back, until 
Khadlja sent her messengers in search of me and they gained the high 
ground above Mecca and returned to her while I was standing in the same 
place; then he parted from me and I from him, returning to my family. 
And I came to Khadija and sat by her thigh and drew close to her. She 
said, "O Abu'l-Qasim, 2 where hast thou been ? By God, I sent my messen- 
gers in search of thee, and they reached the high ground above Mecca and 
returned to me." (T. I said to her, "Woe is me poet or possessed." She 
said, "I take refuge in God from that O Abu'l-Qasim. God would not treat 
you thus since he knows your truthfulness, your great trustworthiness, 
your fine character, and your kindness. This cannot be, my dear. Perhaps 

1 Sura 96. 1-5. 2 The kunya or 'name of honour' of Muhammad. 

The Life of Muhammad 107 

you did see something." "Yes, I did," I said.) Then I told her of what I 
had seen ; and she said, "Rejoice, O son of my uncle, and be of good heart. 
Verily, by Him in whose hand is Khadija's soul, I have hope that thou wilt 
be the prophet of this people." ' Then she rose and gathered her garments 
about her and set forth to her cousin Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l- 
'Uzza b. Qusayy, who had become a Christian and read the scriptures and 
learned from those that follow the Torah and the Gospel. And when she 
related to him what the apostle of God told her he had seen and heard, 
Waraqa cried, 'Holy! Holy! Verily by Him in whose hand is Waraqa's 
soul, if thou hast spoken to me the truth, O Khadija, there hath come unto 
him the greatest Namus (T. meaning Gabriel) who came to Moses afore- 
time, and lo, he is the prophet of this people. Bid him be of good heart.' 
So Khadija returned to the apostle of God and told him what Waraqa had 
said. (T. and that calmed his fears somewhat.) And when the apostle of 
God had finished his period of seclusion and returned (to Mecca), in the 
first place he performed the circumambulation of the Ka'ba, as was his 
wont. While he was doing it, Waraqa met him and said, 'O son of my i S4 
brother, tell me what thou hast seen and heard.' The apostle told him, and 
Waraqa said, 'Surely, by Him in whose hand is Waraqa's soul, thou art the 
prophet of this people. There hath come unto thee the greatest Namus, 
who came unto Moses. Thou wilt be called a liar, and they will use thee 
despitefully and cast thee out and fight against thee. Verily, if I live to see that 
day, I will help God in such wise as He knoweth.' Then he brought his head 
near to him and kissed his forehead ; and the apostle went to his own house. 
(T. Waraqa's words added to his confidence and lightened his anxiety.) 

Isma'il b. Abu Hakim, a freedman of the family of al-Zubayr, told me on 
Khadija's authority that she said to the apostle of God, 'O son of my 
uncle, are you able to tell me about your visitant, when he comes to you ?' 
He replied that he could, and she asked him to tell her when he came. So 
when Gabriel came to him, as he was wont, the apostle said to Khadija, 
'This is Gabriel who has just come to me.' 'Get up, O son of my uncle,' 
she said, 'and sit by my left thigh'. The apostle did so, and she said, 'Can 
you see him ?' 'Yes,' he said. She said, 'Then turn round and sit on my 
right thigh.' He did so, and she said, 'Can you see him?' When he said 
that he could she asked him to move and sit in her lap. When he had done 
this she again asked if he could see him, and when he said yes, she dis- 
closed her form and cast aside her veil while the apostle was sitting in her 
lap. Then she said, 'Can you see him?* And he replied, 'No.' She said, 
'O son of my uncle, rejoice and be of good heart, by God he is an angel and 
not a satan.' 

I told 'Abdullah b. Hasan this story and he said, *I heard my mother 
Fatima, daughter of Husayn, talking about this tradition from Khadija, 
but as I heard it she made the apostle of God come inside her shift, and 
thereupon Gabriel departed, and she said to the apostle of God, "This 
verily is an angel and not a satan."' 





The apostle began to receive revelations in the month of Ramadan. In the 
words of God, 'The month of Ramadan in which the Quran was brought 
down as a guidance to men, and proofs of guidance and a decisive criterion.' 1 
And again, 'Verily we have sent it down on the night of destiny, and what 
has shown you what the night of destiny is ? The night of destiny is better 
than a thousand months. In it the angels and the spirit descend by their 
Lord's permission with every matter. It is peace until the rise of dawn.' 2 
Again, 'H.M. by the perspicuous book, verily we have sent it down in a 
blessed night. Verily, we were warning. In it every wise matter is decided 
as a command from us. Verily we sent it down.' 3 And again, 'Had you 
believed in God and what we sent down to Our servant on the day of 
decision, the day on which the two parties met', 4 i.e. the meeting of the 
apostle with the polytheists in Badr. Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. 'All b. 
al-Husayn told me that the apostle of God met the polytheists in Badr on 
the morning of Friday, the 17th of Ramadan. 

Then revelation came fully to the apostle while he was believing in Him 
and in the truth of His message. He received it willingly, and took upon 
himself what it entailed whether of man's goodwill or anger. Prophecy is 
a troublesome burden — only strong, resolute messengers can bear it by 
God's help and grace, because of the opposition which they meet from 
men in conveying God's message. The apostle carried out God's orders in 
spite of the opposition and ill treatment which he met with. 


Khadija believed in him and accepted as true what he brought from God, 
and helped him in his work. She was the first to believe in God and His 
apostle, and in the truth of his message. By her God lightened the burden 
of His prophet. He never met with contradiction and charges of falsehood, 
which saddened him, but God comforted him by her when he went home. 
She strengthened him, lightened his burden, proclaimed his truth, and 
belittled men's opposition. May God Almighty have mercy upon her! 

Hisham b. 'Urwa told me on the authority of his father 'Urwa b. al- 
Zubayr from 'Abdullah b. Ja'far b. Abu Talib that the apostle said, *I was 
commanded to give Khadija the good news of a house of qasab wherein 
would be no clamour and no toil' (148). 

Then revelations stopped for a time so that the apostle of God was dis- 
tressed and grieved. Then Gabriel brought him the Sura of the Morning, 
in which his Lord, who had so honoured him, swore that He had not for- 

1 Sum 2. 181. 2 Sura 97. 

* Sura 44. 1-4. * Sura 8. 42. 

ii2 The Life of Muhammad 

saken him, and did not hate him. God said, 'By the morning and the night 
when it is still, thy Lord hath not forsaken nor hated thee," meaning that 
He has not left you and forsaken you, nor hated you after having loved 
you. 'And verily, the latter end is better for you than the beginning,' 2 i.e. 
What I have for you when you return to Me is better than the honour 
which I have given you in the world. 'And your Lord will give you and 
will satisfy you,' i.e. of victory in this world and reward in the next. 'Did 
he not find you an orphan and give you refuge, going astray and guided 
you, found you poor and made you rich ?' God thus told him of how He 
had begun to honour him in his earthly life, and of His kindness to him as 
an orphan poor and wandering astray, and of His delivering him from all 
that by His compassion (149). 
*57 'Do not oppress the orphan and do not repel the beggar.' That is, do not 
be a tyrant or proud or harsh or mean towards the weakest of God's 

'Speak of the kindness of thy Lord,' i.e. tell about the kindness of God 
in giving you prophecy, mention it and call men to it. 

So the apostle began to mention secretly God's kindness to him and to 
his servants in the matter of prophecy to everyone among his people whom 
he could trust. 


The apostle was ordered to pray and so he prayed. Salih b. Kaisan from 
'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from 'A'isha told me that she said, 'When prayer was 
first laid on the apostle it was with two prostrations for every prayer: then 
God raised it to four prostrations at home while on a journey the former 
ordinance of two prostrations held.' 
158 A learned person told me that when prayer was laid on the apostle 
Gabriel came to him while he was on the heights of Mecca and dug a hole 
for him with his heel in the side of the valley from which a fountain gushed 
forth, and Gabriel performed the ritual ablution as the apostle watched 
him. This was in order to show him how to purify himself before prayer. 
Then the apostle performed the ritual ablution as he had seen Gabriel do 
it. Then Gabriel said a prayer with him while the apostle prayed with his 
prayer. Then Gabriel left him. The apostle came to Khadija and per- 
formed the ritual for her as Gabriel had done for him, and she copied him. 
Then he prayed with her as Gabriel had prayed with him, and she prayed 
his prayer. 

'Utba b. Muslim freedman of B. Taym from Nan' b. Jubayr b. Mut'im 
(who was prolific in relating tradition) from I. 'Abbas told me: 'When 
prayer was laid upon the apostle Gabriel came to him and prayed the noon 
prayer when the sun declined. Then he prayed the evening prayer when 

1 Sura 93. 

2 Sura 93- 

The Life of Muhammad 


his shadow equalled his own length. Then he prayed the sunset prayer 
when the sun set. Then he prayed the last night prayer when the twilight 
had disappeared. Then he prayed with him the morning prayer when the 
dawn rose. Then he came to him and prayed the noon prayer on the 
morrow when his shadow equalled his height. Then he prayed the evening 
prayer when his shadow equalled the height of both of them. Then he 
prayed the sunset prayer when the sun set at the time it had the day 
before. Then he prayed with him the last night prayer when the first third 
of the night had passed. Then he prayed the dawn prayer when it was clear 
but the sun was not shining. Then he said, "O Muhammad, prayer is in 
what is between your prayer today and your prayer yesterday.'" 1 (T. T- 1161 
Yunus b. Bukayr said that Muhammad b. Ishaq told him that Yahya b. 
Abu'l-Ash'ath al-Kindi of the people of Kufa said that Isma'il b. Iyas b. 
'Afif from his father from his grandfather said, 'When I was a merchant 
I came to al-'Abbas during the days of pilgrimage; and while we were 
together a man came out to pray and stood facing the Ka'ba; then a 
woman came out and stood praying with him ; then a young man came out 
and stood praying with him. I said to 'Abbas, "What is their religion ? It 
is some thing new to me." He said, "This is Muhammad b. Abdullah who 
alleges that God has sent him with it and that the treasures of Chosrhoes 
and Gaesar will be opened to him. The woman is his wife Khadlja who 
believes in him, and this young man is his nephew 'All who believes in him." 
'Afif said, "Would that I could have believed that day and been a third!'" 2 

(T. Ibn Hamld said that Salama b. al-Fadl and 'All b. Mujahid told T- 1162 
him. Salama said, Muhammad b. Ishaq told me from Yahya b. Abu'l- 
Ash'ath — Tabari said, 'It is in another place in my book from Yahya b. 
al-Ash'ath from Isma'il b. Iyas b. 'Afif al-Kindi, 'Afif being the brother of 
al-Ash'ath b. Qays al-Kindi by the same mother and the son of his uncle — 
from his father, from his grandfather 'Afiif: 'Al-Abbas b. 'Abdu'l-Mutta- 
lib was a friend of mine who used to go often to the Yaman to buy aroma- 
tics and sell them during the fairs. W'hile I was with him in Mina there 
came a man in the prime of life and performed the full rites of ablution 
and then stood up and prayed. Then a woman came out and did her 
ablutions and stood up and prayed. Then out came a youth just approach- 
ing manhood, did his ablutions, then stood up and prayed by his side. 
When I asked al-'Abbas what was going on, he said that it was his nephew 
Muhammad b. 'Abdullah b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib who alleges 3 that Allah 
has sent him as an apostle ; the other is my brother's son 'All b. Abu Talib 
who has followed him in his religion; the third is his wife Khadija d. 

1 Suhayli takes the author to task for saying what he should not. Traditionists are agreed 
that this story belongs to the morrow of the prophet's night journey (f ./.) some five years 
later. Opinions differ as to whether this occurred eighteen months or a year before the 
hijra, but that would have been long after the beginning of revelation. 

1 This may be one of the traditions which I.I. was accused of producing or recording in 
support of the 'Alids. It is certainly open to criticism. See Introduction, pp. xxii f. 

1 A hit at al-'Abbas. 

B 4080 


i ^ The Life of Muhammad 

Khuwaylid who also follows him in his religion.' 'Afif said after he had 
become a Muslim and Islam was firmly established in his heart, "Would 
that I had been a fourth!" M 

'alI b. abO tAlib the first male to accept islam 

'Ali was the first male to believe in the apostle of God, to pray with him 

1 59 and to believe in his divine message, when he was a boy of ten. God 
favoured him in that he was brought up in the care of the apostle before 
Islam began. 

'Abdullah b. Abu Najih on the authority of Mujahid b. Jabr Abu'l- 
Hajjaj told me that God showed His favour and goodwill towards him 
when a grievous famine overtook QUraysh. Now Abu Talib had a large 
family, and the prophet approached his uncle, A1-' Abbas, who was one of 
the richest of B. Hashim, suggesting that in view of his large family and the 
famine which affected everyone, they should go together and offer to relieve 
him of the burden of some of his family. Al-'Abbas agreed, and so they 
went to Abu Talib offering to relieve him from his responsibility of two 
boys until conditions improved. Abu Talib said, 'Do what you like so 
long as you leave me 'Aqil' (150). So the apostle took 'All and kept him 
with him and Al-'Abbas took Ja'far. 'All continued to be with the apostle 
until God sent him forth as a prophet. 'All followed him, believed him, 
and declared his truth, while Ja'far remained with Al-'Abbas until he 
became a Muslim and was independent of him. 

A traditionist mentioned that when the time of prayer came the apostle 
used to go out to the glens of Mecca accompanied by 'AH, who went un- 
beknown to his father, and his uncles and the rest of his people. There 
they used to pray the ritual prayers, and return at nightfall. This went on 
as long as God intended that it should, until one day Abu Talib came upon 
them while they were praying, and said to the apostle, 'O nephew, what is 
this religion which I see you practising?' He replied, 'O uncle, this is the 
religion of God, His angels, His apostles, and the religion of our father 

160 Abraham.' Or, as he said, *God has sent me as an apostle to mankind, and 
you, my uncle, most deserve that I should teach you the truth and call you 
to guidance, and you are the most worthy to respond and help me,' or 
words to that effect. His uncle replied, 'I cannot give up the religion of 
my fathers which they followed, but by God you shall never meet with 
anything to distress you so long as I live.' They mention that he said to 
'AH, 'My boy, what is this religion of yours? He answered, 'I believe in 
God and in the apostle of God, and I declare that what he has brought is 
true, and I pray to God with him and follow him.' They allege that he 
said, 'He would not call you to anything but what is good so stick to him.' 

Zayd the freedman of the apostle was the first male to accept Islam after 

1 See Introduction, pp. xxii f. 

The Life of Muhammad 


'AH (151). Then Abu Bakr b. Abu Quhafa whose name was 'Atiq became 
a Muslim. His father's name was 'Uthman b. 'Amir b. 'Amr b. Ka'b b. 
Sa'd b. Taym b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. When he 
became a Muslim, he showed his faith openly and called others to God and 
his apostle. He was a man whose society was desired, well liked and of 
easy manners. He knew more about the genealogy of Quraysh than anyone 
else and of their faults and merits. He was a merchant of high character 
and kindliness. His people used to come to him to discuss many matters 
with him because of his wide knowledge, his experience in commerce, and 
his sociable nature. He began to call to God and to Islam all whom he 
trusted of those who came to him and sat with him (152). 

[I.K. iii, 24. The following day 'All b. Abu Talib came as the two of 
them were praying and asked, 'What is this, Muhammad ?' He replied, 'It 
is God's religion which He has chosen for Himself and sent His apostles 
with it. I call you to God, the One without an associate, to worship Him 
and to disavow al-Lat and al-'Uzza.' 'All said, 'This is something that I 
have never heard of before today. I cannot decide a matter until I have 
talked about it with Abu Talib.' Now the apostle did not want his secret 
to be divulged before he applied himself to the publication of his message, 
so he said, 'If you do not accept Islam, then conceal the matter.' 'AH 
tarried that night until God put Islam into his heart. Early next morning 
he went to the apostle and asked him what his orders were. He said, 'Bear 
witness that there is no god but Allah alone without associate, and disavow 
al-Lat and al-'Uzza, and renounce rivals.' 'All did so and became a Mus- 
lim. He refrained from coming to him out of fear of Abu Talib and con- 
cealed his Islam and did not let it be seen. 

Zayd b. Haritha became a Muslim and the two of them tarried nearly a 
month. (Then) 'AH kept coming to the apostle. It was a special favour to 
'Ali from God that he was in the closest association with the apostle before 


Those who accepted Islam at his invitation according to what I heard 

'Uthman b. 'AfTan b. Abu'l-'As b. Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams b. 'Abdu 
Manaf b. Qusayy . . b. Lu'ayy; al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam b. Khuwavlid 
b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy . . . b. Lu'ayy ; 'Abdu 1- Rahman b. 
'Auf b. 'Abdu 'Auf b. 'Abd b. al-Harith b. Zuhra . . . b. Lu'ayy;' Sa'd b. 
Abu Waqqas. (The latter was Malik b. Uhayb b. 'Abdu Manaf . . . b. 
Lu'ayy); Talha b. 'Ubaydullah b. 'Uthman b. 'Amr b. Ka'b b. Sa'd . . . 
b. Lu'ayy. 

1 I have omitted the intervening names in genealogies which have been given already. 

! ,6 The Life of Muhammad 

He brought them to the apostle when they had accepted his invitation 
and they accepted Islam and prayed. *I have heard that the apostle of God 
used to say : '1 have never invited anyone to accept Islam but he has shown 
signs of reluctance, suspicion, and hesitation, except Abu Bakr. When I 
told him of it he did not hold back or hesitate' (153).* 

These were the first eight men to accept Islam and prayed and believed 
in the divine inspiration of the apostle. 

After them came: 

Abu 'Ubayda b. al-Jarrah whose name was 'Amir b. 'Abdullah b. al- 
Jarrah b. Hilal b. Uhayb b. Dabba b. al-Harith b. Fihr. Abu Salama 
whose name was 'Abdullah b. 'Abdu'l-Asad . . . b. Lu'ayy. Al-Arqam b. 
Abu'l-Arqam. (The latter's name was 'Abdu Manaf b. Asad— and Asad 

163 bore the honorific of Abu Jundub— b. 'Abdullah b. 'Amr . . . b. Lu'ayy.) 
'Uthman b. Maz'un b. Habib b. Wahb b. Hudhafa . . . b. Lu'ayy. His two 
brothers Qudama and 'Abdullah, sons of Maz'un. 'Ubayda b. al-Harith 
b. al-Muttalib b. 'Abdu Manaf . . . b. Lu'ayy. Sa'id b. Zayd b. 'Amr b. 
Nufayl b. "'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. 'Abdullah b. Qurt . . . b. Lu'ayy, and his wife 
Fatima d. al Khattab b. Nufayl just mentioned, she being the sister of 
'Urnar b. al-Khattab. Asma d. Abu Bakr, together with his little daughter 
'A'isha. Khabbab b. al-Aratt ally of the B. Zuhra (154). 'Umayr b. Abu 
Waqqas, brother of Sa'd. Abdullah b. Mas'ud b. al-Harith b. Shamkh b. 
MakhzOm b. Sahilab. Kahil b. al-Harith b. Tamim b. Sa'd b. Hudhayl, ally 
of the B. Zuhra. Mas'ud b. al-Qari who was the son of Rabi'a b. 'Amr b. 
Sa'd b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Hamala b. Ghalib b. Muhallim b. 'A'idha b. 
Subay' b. al-Hun b. Khuzayma from al-Qara (155). Salit b. 'Amr b. 
'Abdu Shams b. 'Abdu Wudd b. Nasr . . . b. Lu'ayy. 'Ayyash b. Abu 
Rabi'a b. al-Mughira b. 'Abdullah b. 'Amr . . . b. Lu'ayy, and his wife 

164 Asma' d. Salama b. Mukharriba the Tamlmite. Khunays b. Hudhafa b. 
Qays b. 'Adly b. Sa'd b. Sahm b. Amr . . . b. Lu'ayy. 'Amir b. Rabi'a of 
'Anz b. Wa'i'l, ally of the family of al-Khattab b. Nufayl b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza 
(156). 'Abdullah b. Jahsh b. Ri'ab b. Ya'mar b. Sabira b. Murra b. Kabir 
b. Ghanm b. Dudan b.' Asad b. Khuzayma, and his brother Abu Ahmad, 
both allies of the B. Umayya. Ja'far b. Abu Talib and his wife Asma' d. 
'Umays b. Nu'man b. Ka'b b. Malik b. Quhafa of Khath'am. Ha?ib b. 
al-Harith b. Ma'mar b. Habib b. Wahb b. Hudhafa . . . b. Lu'ayy, and his 
wife Fatima d. al-Mujallil b. 'Abdullah b. Abu Qays b. 'Abdu Wudd b. 
Nasr b. Malik . . . b. Lu'ayy. And his brother Hattab 1 b. al-Harith and his 
wife Fukayha d. Yasar. Ma'mar b. al-Harith above. Al-Saib b. 'Uthman 
b. Maz'un above. Al-Muttalib b. Azhar b. 'Abdu 'Auf b. 'Abd b. al- 
Harith . . . b. Lu'ayy, and his wife Ramla d. Abu 'Auf b. Subayra b. 
Su'ayd . . b. Lu'ayy. Al-Nahham whose name was Nu'aym b. 'Abdullah 
b. Asid . . . b. Lu'ayy (157). 'Amir b. Fuhayra, freedman of Abu Bakr 
(158). Khalid b. Sa'id b. al'As b. Umayya . . . b. Lu'ayy and his wife 

» See C. • . . . • Not in T- 

The Life of Muhammad 1 1 7 

Umayna (159) d. Khalaf b. As'ad b. 'Amir b. Bayada b. Subay' . . . from 165 
Khuza'a; Hatib b. 'Amr b. 'Abdu Shams . . . b. Lu'ayy; Abu Hudhayfa 

(160) ; Waqid b. 'Abdullah b. 'Abdu Manaf b. 'Arm b. Tha'laba b. Yarbu' 
b. Hanzala b. Malik b. Zayd Manat b. Tamim an ally of B. 'Adiy b. Ka'b 

(161) ; KhSlid, 'Amir, 'Aqil, Iyas, the sons of al-Bukayr b. 'Abdu Yalil b. 
Nashib b. Ghiyara b. Sa'd b. Layth b. Bakr b. 'Abdu Manat b. Kinana, 
allies of B. 'Adiy ; 'Ammar b. Yasir, ally of B. MakhzQm b. Yaqaza (162); 
Suhayb b. Sinan one of the Namir b. Qasit, an ally of B. Taym b. Murra 



People began to accept Islam, both men and women, in large numbers 
until the fame of it was spread throughout Mecca, and it began to be talked 
about. Then God commanded His apostle to declare the truth of what he 
had received and to make known His commands to men and to call them 
to Him. Three years elapsed from the time that the apostle concealed his 
state until God commanded him to publish his religion, according to 
information which has reached me. Then God said, 'Proclaim what you 
have been ordered and turn aside from the polytheists.' 1 And again, 'Warn 
thy family, thy nearest relations, and lower thy wing to the followers who 
follow thee.' 2 And 'Say, I am the one who warns plainly' (164). 3 

(T. Ibn Hamid from Salama from Ibn Ishaq from 'Abdullah b. al- T- "7* 
Ghaffar b. al-Qasim from al-Minhal b. 'Amr from 'Abdullah b. al-Harith 
b. Naufal b. al-Harith b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib from 'Abdullah b. 'Abbas from 
'All b. Abu Talib said: When these words 'Warn thy family, thy nearest 
relations' came down to the apostle he called me and said, 'God has 
ordered me to warn my family, my nearest relations and the task is beyond 
ray strength. I know that when I made this message known to them I 
should meet with great unpleasantness so I kept silence until Gabriel came 
to me and told me that if I did not do as I was ordered my Lord would punish 
me. So get some food ready with a leg of mutton and fill a cup with milk and 
then get together the sons of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib so that I can address them 
and tell them what I have been ordered to say.' I did what he ordered and 
summoned them. There were at that time forty men more or less including 
his uncles Abu Talib, Hamza, al-'Abbas, and Abu Lahab. When they were 
assembled he told me to bring in the food which I had prepared for them, 
and when I produced it the apostle took a bit of the meat and split it in 
his teeth and threw it into the dish. Then he said, 'Take it in the name of 
God.' The men ate till they could eat no more, and all I could see (in the 
dish) was the place where their hands had been. And as sure as I live if 
there had been only one man he could have eaten what I put before the 
lot of them. Then he said, 'Give the people to drink', so I brought them 

1 Sura 15. 94. 1 Sura 26. 214, i.e. 'deal gently with*. 

' Sura 15. 8, 9. 

1 18 The Life of Muhammad 

the cup and they drank until they were all satisfied, and as sure as I live if 
there had been, only one man he could have drunk that amount. When the 
apostle wanted to address them Abu Lahab got in first and said, 'Your 
host has bewitched you'; so they dispersed before the apostle could 
address them. On the morrow he said to me, 'This man spoke before I 
could, and the people dispersed before I could address them, so do exactly 
as you did yesterday.' Everything went as before and then the apostle said, 
'O Sons of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib, I know of no Arab who has come to his 
people with a nobler message than mine. I have brought you the best of 
this world and the next. God has ordered me to call you to Him. So 
which of you will co-operate with me in this matter, my brother, my 
executor, and my successor being among you ?' The men remained silent 
and I, though the youngest, most rheumy-eyed, fattest in body and thinnest 
in legs, said: 'O prophet of God, I will be your helper in this matter.' He 
laid his hand on the back of my neck and said, 'This is my brother, my 
executor, and my successor among you. Hearken to him and obey him.' 
The men got up laughing and saying to Abu Talib, 'He has ordered you to 
listen to your son and obey him!') 

(T. 1 173. Ibn Hamld from Salama from Ibn Ishaq from 'Amrb. 'Ubayd 
from al-Hasan b. Abu'l-Hasan said: When this verse came down to the 
apostle, he stood in the vaie and said, 'O Sons of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib ; O Sons 
of 'Abdu Manaf ; O Sons of Qusayy.'— Then he named Quraysh tribe by 
tribe until he came to the end of them— 'I call you to God and I warn you 
of his punishment.') 

When the apostle's companions prayed they went to the glens so that 
their people could not see them praying, and while Sa*d b. Abu Waqqas 
was with a number of the prophet's companions in one of the glens of 
Mecca, a band of polytheists came upon them while they were praying and 
rudely interrupted them. They blamed them for what they were doing 
until they came to blows, and it was on that occasion that Sa'd smote a 
polytheist with the jawbone of a camel and wounded him. This was the 
first blood to be shed in Islam. 

When the apostle openly displayed Islam as God ordered him his people 
did not withdraw or turn against him, so far as I have heard, until he spoke 
167 disparagingly of their gods. When he did that they took great offence and 
resolved unanimously to treat him as an enemy, except those whom God 
had protected by Islam from such evil, but they were a despised minority. 
Abu Talib his uncle treated the apostle kindly and protected him, the 
latter continuing to obey God's commands, nothing turning him back. 
When Quraysh saw that he would not yield to them and withdrew from 
them and insulted their gods and that his uncle treated him kindly and 
stood up in his defence and would not give him up to them, some of their 
leading men went to Abu Talib, namely 'Utba and Shayba, both sons of 
Rabi'a b. 'Abdu Shams ... and Abu Sufyan (165) b. Harb ... and AbQ'l- 
Bakhtari whose name was al-'As b. Hisham b. al-Harith b. Asad ... and 

The Life of Muhammad "9 

al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib b. Asad ... and Abu Jahl (whose name was 
'Amr, his title being Abu'l-Hakam) b. Hisham b. al Mughira ... and 
al-Walid b. al-Mughira ... and Nubayh and Munabbih two sons of 
al-Hajjaj b. 'Amir b. Hudhayfa ... and al-'As b. Wa'il (166). They said, 
*0 Abu Talib, your nephew has cursed our gods, insulted our religion, 
mocked our way of life' and accused our forefathers of error; either you 
must stop him or you must let us get at him, for you yourself are in the 168 
same position as we are in opposition to him and we will rid you of him.' 
He gave them a conciliatory reply and a soft answer and they went away. 

The apostle continued on his way, publishing God's religion and calling 
men thereto. In consequence his relations with Quraysh deteriorated and 
men withdrew from him in enmity. They were always talking about him 
and inciting one another against him. Then they went to Abu Talib a 
second time and said, 'You have a high and lofty position among us, and 
we have asked you to put a stop to your nephew's activities but you have 
not done so. By God, we cannot endure that our fathers should be reviled, 
our customs mocked and our gods insulted. Until you rid us of him we 
will fight the pair of you until one side perishes,' or words to that effect. 
Thus saying, they went off. Abu Talib was deeply distressed at the 
breach with his people and their enmity but he could not desert the apostle 
and give him up to them. 

Ya'qub b. 'Utba b. al-Mughira b. al-Akhnas told me that he was told 
that after hearing these words from the Quraysh Abu Talib sent for his 
nephew and told him what his people had said. 'Spare me and yourself,' 
he said. 'Do not put on me a burden greater than I can bear.* The apostle 
thought that his uncle had the idea of abandoning and betraying him, and 
that he was going to lose his help and support. He answered, 'O my uncle, 
by God, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on 
condition that -I abandoned this course, until God has made it victorious, 
or I perish therein, I would not abandon it.' Then the apostle broke into 
tears, and got up. As he turned away his uncle called him and said, 'Come 
back, my nephew,' and when he came back, he said, 'Go and say what you 
please, for by God I will never give you up on any account.' 

When the Quraysh perceived that Abu Talib had refused to give up the 
apostle, and that he was resolved to part company with them, they went to 169 
him with 'Umara b. al-Walid b. al-Mughira and said, according to my 
information, 'O Abu Talib, this is 'Umara, the strongest and most hand- 
some young man among Quraysh, so take him and you will have the benefit 
of his intelligence and support; adopt him as a son and give up to us this 
nephew of yours, who has opposed your religion and the religion of your 
fathers, severed the unity of your people, and mocked our way of life, so 
that we may kill him. This will be man for man.' He answered, 'By God, 

« ahldm means the civilization and virtues of the pre-blamic Arabs. See the excellent 
discussion of jahl and hilm in Goldziher's Muhammedamtche Studten, i. «o f. 

120 The Life of Muhammad 

son that I should feed him for you, and should I give you my son that you 
should kill him ? By God, this shall never be.' Al-Mut'im b. 'Adly said, 
'Your people have treated you fairly and have taken pains to avoid what 
you dislike. I do not think that you are willing to accept anything from 
them.' Abu Talib replied, 'They have not treated me fairly, by God, but 
you have agreed to betray me and help the people against me, so do what 
you like,' or words to that effect. So the situation worsened, the quarrel 
became heated and people were sharply divided, and openly showed their 
animosity to their opponents. Abu Talib wrote the following verses, 
indirectly attacking Mut'im, and including those who had abandoned him 
from the 'Abdu Manaf, and his enemies among the tribes of Quraysh. He 
mentions therein what they had asked of him and his estrangement from 

Say to 'Amr and al-Walid and Mut'im 

Rather than your protection give me a young camel, 

Weak, grumbling and murmuring, 

Sprinkling its flanks with its urine 

Lagging behind the herd, and not keeping up. 

When it goes up the desert ridges, you would call it a weasel. 

I see our two brothers, sons of our mother and father, 

When they are asked for help, say 'It is not our business.' 

Nay, it is their affair, but they have fallen away, 

As a rock falls from the top of Dhu 'Alaq. 1 

I mean especially 'Abdu Shams and Naufal, 

Who have flung us aside like a burning coal. 

They have slandered their brothers among the people ; 

Their hands are emptied of them. 

They shared their fame with men of low birth, 

With men whose fathers were whispered about; 

And Taym, and Makhzum, and Zuhra, are of them 

Who ljad been friends of ours when help was sought; 

By God, there will always be enmity between us 

As long as one of our descendants lives. 

Their minds and thoughts were foolish, 

They were entirely without judgement (167). 2 

Then the Quraysh incited people against the companions of the apostle 
who had become Muslims. Every tribe fell upon the Muslims among them, 
beating them and seducing them from their religion. God protected His 
apostle from them through his uncle, who, when he saw what Quraysh 
were doing, called upon B. Hashim and B. al-Muttalib to stand with him in 
protecting the apostle. This they agreed to do, with the exception of Abu 
Lahab, the accursed enemy of God. 

1 A mountain in the Banu Asad country. 

a To say that a man's well is demolished is to accuse him of losing all common .enae. 

The Life of Muhammad 121 

Abu Talib was delighted at the response of his tribe and their kindness, 
and began to praise them and to bring to men's memory their past. He 
mentioned the superiority of the apostle among them and his position so 
that he might strengthen their resolve and that they might extend their 
kindness to him. He said : 

If one day Quraysh gathered together to boast, 

'Abdu Manaf would be their heart and soul; 

And if the nobles of 'Abdu Manaf were reckoned, 

Amongst Hashim would be their noblest and chief; 

If they boast one day, then Muhammad 

Would be the chosen noble and honourable one. 

Quraysh summoned everyone against us J 

They were not successful and they were beside themselves. 

Of old we have never tolerated injustice; 

When people turned away their faces in pride we made them face us. 
We protected their sanctuary whenever danger th 
And drove the assailant from its buildings. 
Through us the dry wood becomes green, 
Under our protection its roots expand and grow. 


When the fair 1 was due, a number of the Quraysh came to al-Walid b. al- 
Mughlra, who was a man of some standing, and he addressed them in 
these words: 'The time of the fair has come round again and representa- 
tives of the Arabs will come to you and they will have heard about this 
fellow of yours, so agree upon one opinion without dispute so that none 
will give the lie to the other.' They replied, 'You give us your opinion 
about him.' He said, 'No, you speak and I will listen.* They said, 'He is 
a kahin: He said, 'By God, he is not that, for he has not the unintelligent 
murmuring and rhymed speech of the kahin.' 'Then he is possessed,' they 
said. *No, he is not that,' he said, 'we have seen possessed ones, and here 
is no choking, spasmodic movements and whispering.' 'Then he is a poet,' 
they said. 'No, he is no poet, for we know poetry in all its forms and 
metres.' 'Then he is a sorcerer.' 'No, we have seen sorcerers and their 
sorcery, and here is no spitting and no knots." 'Then what are we to say, 
O Abu 'Abdu Shams?' they asked. He replied, 'By God, his speech is 
sweet, his root is a palm-tree whose branches are fruitful (168), and every- 
thing you have said would be known to be false. The nearest thing to the 
. truth is your saying that he is a sorcerer, who has brought a message by 
which he separates a man from his father, or from his brother, or from his 
wife, or from his family.' 

« Cf. SQr« 113. 4- Spitting, or perhaps 'blowing.* 

122 The Life of Muhammad 

At this point they left him, and began to sit on the paths which men take 
when they come to the fair. They warned everyone who passed them 
about Muhammad's doings. God revealed concerning al-Walid: 

Leave to Me him I made, 

Giving him wealth and trade, 

While sons before him played, 

The road for him I laid, 

Then he coveted more of My aid, 

Ay, Our signs hath he gainsaid (169). 1 

172 'I shall impose on him a grievous burden ; he thought and planned ; may 
he perish how he planned, may he perish how he planned. Then he looked, 
then he frowned, and showed anger' (170). 

'Then he turned his back in pride and said, "This is nothing but ancient 
sorcery, this is nothing but the speech of a mortal".' 

Then God revealed concerning the men who were with him, composing 
a term to describe the apostle and the revelation he brought from God, 'As 
we sent down upon the dividers who had split the Quran into parts, by thy 
Lord we will ask them all about what they used to do' (171). 2 

So these men began to spread this report about the apostle with every- 
one they met so that the Arabs went away from that fair knowing about 
the apostle, and he was talked about in the whole of Arabia. When Abu 
Talib feared that the multitude would overwhelm him with his family he 
composed the following ode, in which he claimed protection in the sanc- 
tuary of Mecca and by his position therein. He showed his affection for 
the nobles of his people while, nevertheless, he told them and others in his 
poetry that he was not going to give up the apostle or surrender him on any 
account whatever, but he would die in his defence. 

When I saw the people had no love for us 
And had severed every tie and relationship, 

173 And shown us enmity and ill-will, 
Obeying the orders of persecuting enemies, 

And had allied themselves with treacherous people against us, 

Biting their fingers in rage at our backs, 

I stood firm against them with my pliant spear, 

And my shining sword, heirloom of princes. 

Round the temple I gathered my clan and my brothers, 

And laid hold of the striped red cloth 3 that covered it, 

Standing together, facing its gates, 

Where everyone who takes an oath completes his vow, 

1 Sura 74. n-25. ^ « 5 strange that after al-Walid has made the point that Muhammad 
cannot be a kdhin because he does not deliver messages in saj' the next quotation from the 
Quran should be an example (to which I fear I have not done justice) of that very form. 

2 Sura 15. 90. 

J This is the meaning which A. Dh. gives to KOfail. 

The Life of Muhammad 123 

Where the pilgrims make their camels kneel, 

Where the blood flows between Isaf and Na'ila, 

Camels marked on the shoulders or neck, 

Tamed ones, between six and nine years old ; 

You see amulets on them, and alabaster ornaments 

Bound on their necks like date-bearing branches. 

I take refuge with the Lord of men from every adversary 

And every lying assailant ; 

From the hater with his hurtful slander, 

And from him who adds to religion what we have not tried. 

By Thaur and Him who fixed Thablr in his place, 

And by him who goes up and down Hira'; 1 

By the true temple of the valley of Mecca; 

By God who is never unmindful; 

By the black stone, when they stroke it 

When they go round it morning and evening; 

By Abraham's footprint in the rock still fresh, 

With both feet bare, without sandals; 

By the running between Marwa and Safa, 

And by the statues and images therein ; 

By every pilgrim riding to the house of God, 

And everyone with a vow and everyone on foot; 

By Hal, the furthest sacred spot 2 to which they go 

Where the streamlets open out; 

By their halt at even above the mountains 

When they help the camels by their hands to rise ; 3 

By the night of the meeting, by the stations of Mina, 

Are any holy places and stations superior? 

By the crowd, when the home-going horses pass by quickly 

As though escaping from a storm of rain ; 

By the great stone heap, 4 when they make for it 

Aiming at its top with stones ; 

By Kinda, when they are at al-Hisab at even, 

W r hen the pilgrims of Bakr b. Wa'il pass by them 

Two allies who strengthened the tie between them, 

And directed to it all means of unity; 

1 Hira, Thaur, and Thabir were all mountains round Mecca. 

1 Hal in the Lisdn is said to be a strip of sand where the people halt, but the lines in 
Nabigha 17. 22 and 19. 14 show that it was the name of a sanctuary (and possibly, as Well- 
hausen, p. 83, says, 'of the God of 'Arafa'). 

3 The words suggest the way in which men get a reluctant camel to its feet. One man 
pushes up the camel's chest while the other pulls its head up by the reins. Here perhaps the 
latter action alone is meant as the 'poet' is speaking of a halt ; even so. 'they raise the breasts 
of the camels with their hands' is an unnatural way to speak of pulling on the reins. 

4 The largest of the three heaps of stones at Mina, presumably that known as Jamratu 
'l-'Aqaba. Cf. Hassan b. Thabit's lament where the pilgrims throw seven stones. The rite 
is not mentioned in the Quran, but wc shall meet it again in the Sira on pp. 534 and 970 of 
the Arabic text. Sec further Djamar in E.I. 

The Life of Muhammad 

By their breaking the acacias and shrubs of al-Sifah, 1 

And its bushes too, as they galloped like flying ostriches. 

Is there any better refuge for one who seeks it ? 

Is there a righteous god-fearing man who will grant it ? 

Our aggressors get their way with us, and wish 

That the gates of Turk and Kabul 2 were blocked with our bodies. 

You lie, by God's house, we will not leave Mecca, and go forth, 

Until your affairs are in confusion. 

You lie, by God's house, Muhammad shall not be maltreated ; J 

Before we shoot and thrust in his defence, 

We will not give him up till we lie dead around him, 

And be unmindful of our wives and children; 

Until a people in arms rise and fight you, 

As camels carrying water rise under empty water-skins, 4 

Until you see the enemy falling face down in his blood 

From the spear thrust weighed down and tottering. 

By God, if what I see should become serious 

Our swords will mingle with the best of them 

In the hands of a young warrior, like a flame, 

Trustworthy, defender of the truth, hero, 

For days, months, a whole year, 

And after next year, yet another. 

What people, confound you, would abandon a chief, 

Who protects his dependants ? No foul-mouthed weakling, 

A noble man, for whose sake the clouds drop rain, 

The support of orphans, the defence of widows, 

Hashim's family, ready to perish, resort to him, 

There they find pity and kindness. 

Asid and his firstborn made us hated 

And cut us up for others to devour; 5 

Neither 'Uthman nor Qunfudh sympathized with us 

But obeyed the command of those tribes. 

1 This line is very difficult, as C.'s notes show. Unfortunately the note of Abu Dharr to 
the effect that §ifah is a place-name is omitted. This seems to me to provide the key to the 
meaning of the line. Yaqut says that al-§ifab lieb between Hunayn and the pillars of the 
11 a ram on the lefc of a man entering Mecca from Mushash. As the latter place lies on the 
hills of 'Arafat the rendering given above seems to suit the context. On the site of Hunayn 
see Yaqut r.ib voce. Weil evades the difficulty, and so, strangely enough, does Suhayli. If 
al-$ifdh is the plural of §afh, the side of a mountain, I cannot M* how th«* passage can be 

1 The commentators say that Turk and Kabul arc two mountains, but I can find no 
mention of them in Yaqut, who under 'Kabul' quotes a line from al-A'sha which clearly 
refers to Tuck and Kabul as people. It looks aa if the two names point to a later forger. 

1 1 follow the reading of the Lison. The text apparently means 'We will not be forcibly 
deprived of M.\ 

4 Or 'rattling, .swishing water-skins'. If the comparison refers to the speed of their 
attack, the simile which Abu Dharr favour* is correct. If not, the simile rests in the noise 
which the armed men make. 

* A figure for 'malicious slander'. 

The Life of Muhammad 125 

They obeyed Ubayy and the son of their 'Abdu Yaguth, 
And did not observe what others said of us ; 

So, too, were we treated by Subay' and Naufal, 175 

And everyone who turned away from us, not treating us kindly. 

If they throw down their arms, or God give us the better of them, 

We will pay them measure for measure. 

That fellow Abu 'Amr would do naught but hate us, 

To send us away among shepherds and camel-drivers ; 

He talks about us confidentially night and morning. 

Talk on, Abu 'Amr, with your guile! 

He swears by God he won't deceive us, 

But we see him openly doing nothing else; 

He hates us so much that the hill-tops 

Between Mecca's hills and Syria's forts 

Are too narrow to hold him. 

Ask Abu'l-Walld, what have you done to us with your slander 

Turning away like a deceitful friend. 

You were a man by whose opinion men guided their lives, 

And you were kind to us, nor are you a fool. 

O 'Utba, do not listen to an enemy's words against us; 

Envious, lying, hating and malicious. 

Abu Sufyan averted his face from me as he passed, 

Sweeping along as though he were one of the great ones of the earth, 

He betook himself to the high ground and its cool waters, 

Pretending that he does not forget us. 

He tells us that he is sorry for us like a good friend, 

But he hides evil designs in his heart. 

O, Mut'im! I did not desert you when you called for help, 

Nor on the day of battle when mighty deeds were called for, 

Nor when they came against you full of enmity, 

Opponents whose strength matched yours. 

0 Mut'im, the people have given you a task to do, 

1 too when entrusted with a task do not try to evade it. 
God requite 'Abdu Shams and Naufal for us 

With evil punishment quick and not delayed, 
With an exact balance, not a grain too little, 
The balance its own witness that it is exact. 
Foolish are the minds of people who exchanged us 
For Banu Khalaf and the Ghayatil. 1 
We are the pure stock from the summit of Hashim 
And the family of Qusayy in matters of import. 
Sahm and Makhzum stirred up against us 
Every scoundrel and low-born churl. 

'Abdu Manaf, you arc the best of your people, 176 

1 See page 133 of the Arabic text where this line is quoted and explaincu. 

j 20 The Life of 1\ 1 uhammad 

Do not make common cause with every outsider. 

You have proved feeble and weak 

And done a thing far from right. 

You were till lately the sticks under one pot 

But now you are the sticks under many pots and vessels. 

Let the Band 'Abdu Manaf get satisfaction from parting from us, 

Deserting us and leaving us imprisoned in our quarters. 

If we are men we shall take revenge' for what you have done 

And you will suffer the full effects of war. 

The best men among Lu'ayy b. Ghalib, 

Every bold chief exiled to us ; 

The family of Nufayl is the worst that ever trod the earth, 

The most contemptible of all the sons of Ma'add. 

Tell Qusayy that our cause will be blazed abroad, 

And give Qusayy the good news that after us there will be a falling 

apart (among our enemies). 
Yet if calamity befell Qusayy one night, 
We should have been the first to protect them; 
If they fought bravely in defence of their houses, 
We should show them how to protect the mothers of children. 
Yet every friend and nephew on whom we ought to count 
We find useless when put to the test 
Except for certain men of Kilab b. Murra 
Whom we exempt from the stigma of the deserter ; 2 

1 Or 'bear a grudge', according to another reading. 

a We came to them by night, they all scattered. 

Every liar and fool disappeared from our sight. 

Ours was the watering-place among them, 

We are the rock-like defence of Ghalib. 

The young men of the scented ones and Hashim 

Are like sword blades in the hands of the polishers. 

They took no revenge, nor shed blood, 

Nor do they oppose any but the worst tribes. 

In their fighting you see the youths 

Like fierce lions quarrelling over lumps of meat ; 

Sons of a favourite Ethiopian* slave girl, 

Sons of Jumah, 'Ubayd Qays b. 'Aqil; 

But we are the noblest stock of lords 

Whose heroic deeds were sung in verse. 
These seven verses are not in W.'s text, and as he docs not mention them in his critical 
notes it may be assumed that none of his manuscripts contained them. Further, there is 
not a note in Abu Dharr's commentary, and it is difficult to believe that he would have 
passed over the extraordinary word hindikiya without a note, if the line containing it were 
before him. I.H. at the end of the poem indicates that he has cut out some verses, possibly 
(though I think most improbably) these verses were among them, and even so he says some 
authorities reject the greater part. It wilUt once be apparent that the seven lines "J^'P 1 

tion. ?n v. 4 I conjecture khdlafu for hdlafu. 

• Hindikiya. Greek and Syrian writers use the term India for South Arabia anr> Ethiopia 
and a slave girl from one of those countries is almost certainly indicated here. T suffix k 
is the Pahlavi suffix. See A. Jeflery, Foreign Vocabulary of the Quran, Baroda, 1938, pp. 15 f- 
and i8f. 

The Life of Muhammad 

Undeniably fine is Zuhayr, our nephew, 

A sword loosed from belts, 

The proudest of the proudest chiefs, 

Belonging to the finest stock in glory. 

I'faith I am devoted to Ahmad and his brethren, 

As a constant lover. 1 

For who among men can hope to be like him 

When judges assess rival claim to merit, 

Clement, rightly guided, just, serious, 

The friend of God, ever mindful of Him. 

By God! but that I might create a precedent 2 

That would be brought against our sheikhs in assemblies, 

We would follow him whatever fate might bring, 

In deadly earnest, not in idle words. 

They know that our son is not held a liar by us, 

And is not concerned with foolish falsehood. 

Ahmad has struck so deep a root among us 

That the attacks of the arrogant fail to affect him. 

I shielded and defended him myself by every means (172). 3 

The Ghayatil are of B. Sahm b. 'Amr b. Husays ; Abu Sufyan is L I.Iarb 177 
b. Umayya; Mut'im is I. 'Adly b. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf; Zuhayr is I. 
Abu Umayya b. al-Mughira b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar b. Makhzum, his 
mother being 'Atika d. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib. Asid and his firstborn, i.e. 
'Att5b b. Asid b. Abu'l-'Is b. Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams b. 'Abdu Manaf. 
'Uthman is I. 'Ubaydullah the brother of Talha b. 'Ubaydullah al-Tayml; 
Qunfudh is I. 'Umayr b. Jud'an b. 'Amr b. Ka'b b. Sa'd b. Taym b. 
Murra. Abu'l-WalTd is 'Utba b. Rabi'a; and Ubayy is al-Akhnas b. Shariq 
al-Thaqafl ally of B. Zuhra b. Kilab (173). 4 

Al-Aswad is I. 'Abdu Yaghuth b. Wahb b. 'Abdu Manaf b. Zuhra b. 
Kilab; Subay* is I. Khalid brother of B. al-Harith b. Fihr; Naufal is I. 
Khuwaylid b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy. He was I. al-'AdawIya, 
one of the 'satans* of Quraysh. He it was who roped together Abu Bakr 
and Talha b. 'Ubaydullah when they went over to Islam. They got the 

1 May he never cease to be an adornment to the people of the world, 

An ornament to those whom God has befriended. 
Not in W. and undoubtedly an interpolation from a pious reader. 

1 There is much to be said for the commoner reading, 'but that I might bring shame'. 
J C. adds: 

The Lord of mankind strengthen him with his help, 

And display a religion whose truth holds no falsehood! 

Noble men, not swerving from right, whose fathers 

Brought them up in the best of ways. 

Though Ka'b is near to Lu'ayy 

The day must come when they must fall apart. 
These verses are lacking in W.'s version. 

4 This and the following paragraph stands under the name of I.H., but the context 
suggests that they are in part at least from I.I. 

The Life of Muhammad 

I7 8 name 'the two-tied-together-ones' from this. 'All killed him at the baule 
of Badr. Abu 'Amr is Qurza b. 'Abdu 'Amr b. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf. 
The 'treacherous people' are B. Bakr b. 'Abdu Manat b. Kinana. These 
are the Arabs whom Abu Talib enumerated in his verse (174). 

When the prophet's fame began to be blazed abroad throughout the land 
he was mentioned in Medina. There was no tribe among the Arabs who 
knew more about the apostle when and before he was mentioned than this 
tribe of Aus and Khazraj. The reason for this was that they were well 
acquainted with the sayings of Jewish rabbis and they lived side by side 
with them as allies. When the apostle was talked of in Medina and they 
heard of the trouble he had with Quraysh, Abu Qays b. al-Aslat, brother of 
B. Waqif, composed the verses given below (175). 

Abu Qays was warmly attached to Quraysh since he was related to them 
through his wife Arnab d. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy, and he with 
his wife used to stay with them for years at a time. He composed an ode in 
which he magnified the sanctity of the area, forbade Quraysh to fight there, 
urged them to stand by one another, mentioned their merits and virtues, 
urged them to protect the apostle, and reminded them of how God had 
dealt with them and saved them in the War of the Elephant. 

0 rider, when you meet Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib 
Give him a message from me, 

, 79 The tidings of a man who though far from you 

Is distressed at what is between you, sad and worried. 

1 have become the caravanserai of cares, 
Because of them I cannot do what I should. 
I learn that you are divided into camps, 

One party kindles the fire of war, the other provides the fuel. 

I pray God to protect you from your evil act, 

Your wicked quarrel and the insidious attack of scorpions, 

Defamatory reports and secret plots 

Like pricking awls which never fail to pierce. 

Remind them of God, first of all things, 

And the sin of breaking the taboo on travel- worn gazelles.' 

Say to them, (and God will give His judgement) 

If you abandon war it will go far from you. 

When you stir it up you raise an evil thing ; 

'Tis a monster devouring everything near and far, 

It severs kinship and destroys people ; 

It cuts the flesh from the hump and the back. 

You will give up the finest clothes of Yaman 

For a soldier's garb and coat of mail, 

Musk and camphor for dust-coloured armour 

With buttons like the eyes of a locust. 

I The killing of game within the sacred area was taboo, and the poet means that if the 
blood of animals there I sacrosanct, aforUori bloodshed and war are forb.dden by God. 

The Life of Muhammad 


Beware of war! Do not let it cling to you; 

A stagnant pool has a bitter draught. 

War— it first seems fine to men 

But afterwards they plainly recognize an old hag. 

It scorches unsparingly the weak, 

And aims death-dealing blows at the great. 

Know you not what happened in the war of Dahis ? 

Or the war of Hatib? Take a lesson from them! 

How many a noble chief it slew, 

The generous host whose guest lacked naught, 

A huge pile of ashes beneath his pot, 

Praised by all, noble in character, his sword 

Drawn only in righteous cause ; 

'Tis as water poured out at random, 

As if winds from all quarters scattered the clouds; 1 

A truthful, knowledgeable man will tell you of its battles 

(For real knowledge is the result of experience). 

So sell your spears to those who love war 

And remember the account you must render, for God is the best 180 

Man's Lord has chosen a religion, 
So let none guard you but the Lord of heaven, 
Raise up for us a hamfl religion. 
You are our object ; one is guided in travel by heights, 
You are a light and protection to this people, 
You lead the way, not lacking virtues. 
If men were valued, you would be a jewel, 
The best of the vale is yours in noble pride. 
You preserve noble, ancient peoples 
Whose genealogy shows no foreign blood ; 
You see the needy come to your houses 
Wave after wave of starving wights. 
The people know that your leaders 
Are ever the best people of the stations of Mina, 2 
Best in counsel, loftiest in custom, 
Most truthful amid the assemblies. 

■ If the subject of the metaphor is war the reading daldl is right, and indiscriminate 
bloodshed is indicated; if the variant faldl 'porous soil' is adopted, the poet is continuing 
his description of the generous warrior whose hospitality extends to the most insatiable 

2 Sec Al-Suhayli, 182, w ho says that LI. so explains the word. He is quoting from p. 300 
of the text. Al-Barqi says it was a well at Mina where the blood of the sacrificial victims was 
collected. It was a spot venerated by the Arabs. The word jubjuba apparently means the 
stomach of a ruminant, and naturally a large number of such skins used for carrying water 
would be available there; therefore it is possible that the term 'people of the stomach skins' 
simply means Arabs, the people who more than any other used this kind of vessel for carry- 
ing food and water, and so the meaning of the poet is that the tribe of Lu'ayy is the finest 
tribe in Arabia. 

B 4080 K 

130 The Life of Muhammad 

Rise and pray to your Lord and rub yourselves 
Against the corners of this house between the mountains. 
He gave you a convincing test 1 
On the day of Abu Yaksum, leader of the squadrons, 
His cavalry was in the plains, 
His infantry upon the passes of the hills. 
When the help of the Lord of the throne reached you 
His armies repulsed them, pelting them, and covering them with 

Quickly they turned tail in flight 

And none but a few returned to his people from the army. 
If you perish, we shall perish, and the fairs by which men live. 
These are the words of a truthful man (176). 

Hakim b. Umayya b. Haritha b. al-Auqas al-SulamT, an ally of B. Umayya 
who had become a Muslim, composed the following verses to turn his 
people from their determined enmity to the apostle. He was a man of 
good birth and authority. 

Does one who says what is right stick to it, 

And is there one listening who would be angry at the truth ? 

Docs the chief whose tribe hope to profit from him 

Gather friends from near and far ? 

I disown all but Him who controls the wind 

And I abandon you for ever. 

I submit myself utterly to God 

Though friends threaten me with terror. 


When the Quraysh became distressed by the trouble caused by the enmity 
between them and the apostle and those of their people who accepted his 
teaching, they stirred up against him foolish men who called him a liar, 
insulted him, and accused him of being a poet, a sorcerer, a diviner, and of 
being possessed. However, the apostle continued to proclaim what God 
had ordered him to proclaim, concealing nothing, and exciting their dislike 
by contemning their religion, forsaking their idols, and leaving them to 
their unbelief. 

Yahya b. 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr on the authority of his father from 'Abdul- 
lah b. 'Amr b. al-'As told me that the latter was asked what was the worst 
way in which Quraysh showed their enmity to the apostle. He replied: 'I 
was with them one day when the notables had gathered in the Hijr and the 
apostle was mentioned. They said that they had never known anything 
like the trouble they had endured from this fellow ; he had declared their 

1 For this and the following lines, except the last, see p. 39 of the Arabic text. 

The Life of Muhammad 131 

mode of life foolish, insulted their forefathers, reviled their religion, 
divided the community, and cursed their gods. What they had borne was 
past all bearing, or words to that effect.' 

While they were thus discussing him the apostle came towards them and 
kissed the black stone, then he passed them as he walked round the temple. 
As he passed they said some injurious things about him. This I could see 
from his expression. He went on and as he passed them the second time 
they attacked him similarly. This I could see from his expression. Then 
he passed the third time, and they did the same. He stopped and said, 
'Will you listen to me O Quraysh ? By him who holds my life in His hand 
I bring you slaughter." This word so struck the people that not one of 
them but stood silent and still; even one who had hitherto been most 
violent spoke to him in the kindest way possible, saying, 'Depart, O Abu'l- 
Qasim, for by God you are not violent.' So the apostle went away, and on 
the morrow they assembled in the Hijr, I being there too, and they asked 
one another if they remembered what had taken place between them and 
the apostle so that when he openly said something unpleasant they let him 
alone. While they were talking thus the apostle appeared, and they leaped 184 
upon him as one man and encircled him, saying, 'Are you the one who said 
so-and-so against our gods and our religion?' The apostle said, 'Yes, I am 
the one who said that.' And I saw one of them seize his robe. Then AbQ 
Bakr interposed himself weeping and saying, 'Would you kill a man for 
saying Allah is my Lord ?' Then they left him. That is the worst that I 
ever saw Quraysh do to him. 

One of the family of Umm Kulthum, Abu Bakr's daughter, told me that 
she said, 'Abu Bakr returned that day with the hair of his head torn. He 
was a very hairy man and they had dragged him along by his beard' (177). 


A man of Aslum, who had a good memory, told me that Abu Jahl passed 
by the apostle at al-Safa, insulted him and behaved most offensively, speak- 
ing spitefully of his religion and trying to bring him into disrepute. The 
apostle did not speak to him. Now a freedwoman, belonging to 'Abdullah 
b. Jud'an b. 'Amr b. Ka'b b. Sa'd b. Taym b. Murra, was in her house 
listening to what went on. When he went away he betook himself to the 
assembly of Quraysh at the Ka'ba and sat there. Within a little while 
Hamzab. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib arrived, with his bow hanging from his shoulder, 
returning from the chase, for he was fond of hunting and used to go out 
shooting. Whin he came back from a hunt he never went home until he 
had circumambulated the Ka'ba, and that done when he passed by an 185 
assembly of the Quraysh he stopped and saluted and talked with them. He 
was the strongest man of Quraysh, and the most unyielding. The apostle 

1 Dhabh. 

13 2 The Life of Muhammad 

had gone back to his house when he passed by this woman, who asked him 
if he had heard of what Abu'l-Hakam b. Hisham had done just recently to 
his nephew, Muhammad; how he had found him sitting quietly there, and 
insulted him, and cursed him, and treated him badly, and that Muhammad 
had answered not a word. Hamza was filled with rage, for God purposed 
to honour him, so he went out at a run and did not stop to greet anyone, 
meaning to punish Abu Jahl when he met him. When he got to the mosque 
he saw him sitting among the people, and went up to him until he stood 
over him, when he lifted up his bow and struck him a violent blow with it, 
saying, 'Will you insult him when I follow his religion, and say what he 
says ? Hit me back if you can!' Some of B. Makhzum got up to go to Abu 
Jahl's help, but he said, 'Let Abu 'Umara alone for, by God, I insulted 
his nephew deeply.' Hamza's Islam was complete, and he followed the 
apostle's commands. When he became a Muslim the Quraysh recognized 
that the apostle had become strong, and had found a protector in liamza, 

; him. 


Yazld b. Ziyad from Muhammad b. Ka'b al-QurazI told me that he was 
told that 'Utba b. Rabl'a, who was a chief, said one day while he was 
sitting in the Quraysh assembly and the apostle was sitting in the mosque 
by himself, 'Why should I not go to Muhammad and make some proposals 
to him which if he accepts in part, we will give him whatever he wants, and 
he will leave us in peace?' This happened when Hamza had accepted Islam 
and they saw that the prophet's followers were increasing and multiplying. 
They thought it was a good idea, and 'Utba went and sat by the prophet 
and said, 'O my nephew, you are one of us as you know, of the noblest of 
the tribe and hold a worthy position in ancestry. You have come to your 
people with an important matter, dividing their community thereby and 
ridiculing their customs, and you have insulted their gods and their reli- 
gion, and declared that their forefathers were unbelievers, so listen to me 
and I will make some suggestions, and perhaps you will be able to accept 
one of them.' The apostle agreed, and he went on, 'If what you want is 
money, we will gather for you of our property so that you may be the richest 
of us; if you want honour, we will make you our chief so that no one can 
decide anything apart from you ; if you want sovereignty, we will make you 
king, and if this ghost which comes to you, which you see, is such that you 
cannot get rid of him, we will find a physician for you, and exhaust our 
means in getting you cured, for often a familiar spirit gets possession of a 
man until he can be cured of it,' or words to that effect. The apostle 
listened patiently, and then said: 'Now listen to me, "In the name of God, 
the compassionate and merciful, H.M., a revelation from the compassion- 
ate, the merciful, a book whose verses are expounded as an Arabic Quran 
for a people who understand, as an announcement and warning, though 

The Life of Muhammad 133 

most of them turn aside not listening and say, 'Our hearts arc veiled from 
that to which you invite us."" 1 Then the apostle continued to recite it to 
him. When 'Utba heard it from him, he listened attentively, putting his 
hands behind his back and leaning on them as he listened. Then the 
prophet ended at the prostration 2 and prostrated himself, and said, 'You 
have heard what you have heard, Abu'l- Walld ; the rest remains with you.' 
When 'Utba returned to his companions they noticed that his expression 
had completely altered, and they asked him what had happened. He said 
that he had heard words such as he had never heard before, which were 
neither poetry, spells, nor witchcraft. 'Take my advice and do as I do, 
leave this man entirely alone for, by God, the words which I have heard 187 
will be blazed abroad. If (other) Arabs kill him, others will have rid you 
of him ; if he gets the better of the Arabs, his sovereignty will be your 
sovereignty, his power your power, and you will be prosperous through 
him.' They said, 'He has bewitched you with his tongue.' To which he 
answered, 'You have my opinion, you must do what you think fit.' 



Islam began to spread in Mecca among men and women of the tribes of 
Quraysh, though Quraysh were imprisoning and seducing as many of the 
Muslims as they could. A traditionist told me from Sa'Id b. Jubayr and 
from 'Ikrima, freedman of 'Abdullah b. 'Abbas, that the leading men of 
every clan of Quraysh — 'Utba b. RabT'a, and Shayba his brother, and Abu 
Sufyan b. Harb, and al-Nadr b. al-Harith, brother of the Banu Abdu'l-Dar, 
and Abu'l-Bakhtarl b. Hisham, and al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib b. Asad and 
Zama'a b. al-Aswad, and al-Walid b. al-Mughira, and Abu Jahl b. Hisham, 
and 'Abdullah b. Abu Umayya, and al-'As b. Wa'il, and Nubayh and 
Munabbih, the sons of al-Hajjaj, both of Sahm, and Umayya b. Khalaf 
and possibly others — gathered together after sunset outside the Ka'ba. 
They decided to send for Muhammad and to negotiate and argue with him 
so that they could not be held to blame on his account in the future. When 
they sent for him the apostle came quickly because he thought that what 
he had said to them had made an impression, for he was most zealous for 
their welfare, and their wicked way of life pained him. When he came and 
sat down with them, they explained that they had sent for him in order 
that they could talk together. No Arab had ever treated his tribe as 
Muhammad had treated them, and they repeated the charges which have 188 
been mentioned on several occasions. If it was money he wanted, they 
would make him the richest of them all ; if it was honour, he should be 
their prince ; if it was sovereignty, they would make him king ; if it was a 

Sura 41. 1. 2 i.e. verse 37 'Prostrate yourselves to God'. 

134 The Life of Muhammad 

spirit which had got possession of him (they used to call the familiar spirit 
of the jinn ra'iy), then they would exhaust their means in finding medicine 
to cure him. The apostle replied that he had no such intention. He sought 
not money, nor honour, nor sovereignty, but God had sent him as an 
apostle, and revealed a book to him, and commanded him to become an 
announcer and a warner. He had brought them the messages of his Lord, 
and given them good advice. If they took it then they would have a portion 
in this world and the next ; if they rejected it, he could only patiently await 
the issue until God decided between them, or words to that effect. 'Well, 
Muhammad,' they said, 'if you won't accept any of our propositions, you 
know that no people are more short of land and water, and live a harder life 
than we, so ask your Lord, who has sent you, to remove for us these 
mountains which shut us in, and to straighten out our country for us, and 
to open up in it rivers like those of Syria and Iraq, and to resurrect for us 
our forefathers, and let there be among those that are resurrected for us 
Qusayy b. Kilab, for he was a true shaikh, so that we may ask them whether 
what you say is true or false. If they say you are speaking the truth, and 
you do what we have asked you, we will believe in you, and we shall know 
what your position with God is, and that He has actually sent you as an 
apostle as you say.' He replied that he had not been sent to them with such 
an object. He had conveyed to them God's message, and they could either 
189 accept it with advantage, or reject it and await God's judgement. They 
said that if he would not do that for them, let him do something for himself. 
Ask God to send an angel with him to confirm what he said and to contra- 
dict them; to make him gardens and castles, and treasures of gold and 
silver to satisfy his obvious wants. He stood in the streets as they did, and 
he sought a livelihood as they did. If he could do this, they would recognize 
his merit and position with God, if he were an apostle as he claimed to be. 
He replied that he would not do it, and would not ask for such things, for 
he was not sent to do so, and he repeated what he had said before. They 
said, 'Then let the heavens be dropped on us in pieces,' as you assert that 
your Lord could do if He wished, for we will not believe you unless you 
do so.' The apostle replied that this was a matter for God ; if He wanted to 
do it with them, He would do it. They said, 'Did not your Lord know that 
we would sit with you, and ask you these questions, so that He might come 
to you and instruct you how to answer us, and tell you what He was going 
to do with us, if we did not receive your message ? Information has reached 
us that you are taught by this fellow in al-Yamama, called al- Rahman, and 
by God we will never believe in the Rahman. Our conscience is clear. By 
God, we will not leave you and our treatment of you, until either we 
destroy you or you destroy us.' Some said, 'We worship the angels, who 
are the daughters of Allah.' Others said, 'We will not believe in you until 
you come to us with God and the angels as a surety.' 1 

When they said this the apostle got up and left them. 'Abdullah b. Abu 

I Cf. Sura 17. 94- 

The Life of Muhammad 135 

Umayya b. al-Mughlra b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar b. Makhziim (who was the 
son of his aunt 'Atika d. of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib) got up with him and said to 
him, 'O Muhammad, your people have made you certain propositions, 
which you have rejected ; first they asked you things for themselves that 
they might know that your position with God is what you say it is so that 
they might believe in you and follow you, and you did nothing; then they 
asked you to take something for yourself, by which they might know your 
superiority over them and your standing with God, and you would not do 190 
it ; then they asked you to hasten some of the punishment with which you 
were frightening them, and you did not do it', or words to that effect, 'and 
by God, I will never believe in you until you get a ladder to the sky, and 
mount up it until you come to it, while I am looking on, and until four 
angels shall come with you, testifying that you are speaking the truth, and 
by God, even if you did that I do not think I should believe you.' Then he 
went away, and the apostle went to his family, sad and grieving, because 
his hope that they had called him to accept his preaching was vain, and 
because of their estrangement from him. When the apostle had gone Abu 
Jahl spoke, making the usual charges against him, and saying, 'I call God 
to witness that I will wait for him tomorrow with a stone which I can 
hardly lift,' or words to that effect, 'and when he prostrates himself in 
prayer I will split his skull with it. Betray me or defend me, let the B. 
'Abdu Manaf do what they like after that.* They said that they would 
never betray him on any account, and he could carry on with his project. 
When morning came Abu Jahl took a stone and sat in wait for the apostle, 
who behaved as usual that morning. While he was in Mecca he faced 
Syria in prayer, and when he prayed, he prayed between the southern 
corner and the black stone, putting the Ka'ba between himself and Syria. 
The apostle rose to pray while Quraysh sat in their meeting, waiting for 
what Abu Jahl was to do. When the apostle prostrated himself, Abu Jahl 
took up the stone and went towards him, until when he got near him, he 
turned back in flight, pale with terror, and his hand had withered upon the 
stone, so that he cast the stone from his hand. The Quraysh asked him 
what had happened, and he replied that when he got near him a camel's 
stallion got in his way. 'By God', he said, 'I have never seen anything like 191 
his head, shoulders, and teeth on any stallion before, and he made as 
though he would eat me.' 

I was told that the apostle said, 'That was Gabriel. If he had come near, 
he would have seized him.' 

When AbQ Jahl said that to them, al-Nadr b. al-Harith b. Kalada b. 
'Alqama b. Abdu Manaf b. Abdu'l-Dar b. Qusayy (178) got up and said : 'O 
Quraysh, a situation has arisen which you cannot deal with. Muhammad 
was a young man most liked among you, most truthful in speech, and most 
trustworthy, until, when you saw grey hairs on his temple, and he brought 
you his message, you said he was a sorcerer, but he is not, for we have seen 
such people and their spitting and their knots; you said, a diviner, but we 

136 The Life of Muhammad 

have seen such people and their behaviour, and we have heard their 
rhymes ; and you said a poet, but he is not a poet, for we have heard all 
kinds of poetry; you said he was possessed, but he is not, for we have seen 
the possessed, and he shows no signs of their gasping and whispering and 
delirium. Ye men of Quraysh, look to your affairs, for by God, a serious 
thing has befallen you.' Now al-Nadr b. al-Harith was one of the satans of 
Quraysh ; he used to insult the apostle and show him enmity. He had been 
to al-Hira and learnt there the tales of the kings of Persia, the tales of 
Rustum and Isbandiyar. When the apostle had held a meeting in which 
he reminded them of God, and warned his people of what had happened 
to bygone generations as a result of God's vengeance, al-Nadr got up when 
he sat down, and said, 'I can tell a better story than he, come to me.' Then 
he began to tell them about the kings of Persia, Rustum and Isbandiyar, 
and then he would say, 'In what respect is Muhammad a better story-teller 
19a than I ?' (179). 

Ibn 'Abbas, according to my information, used to say eight verses of the 
Quran came down in reference to him, 'When our verses are read to him, 
he says fairy tales of the ancients' and all those passages in the Quran in 
which 'fairy tales' are mentioned. 

When Al-Nadr said that to them, they sent him and 'Uqba b. Abu 
Mu'ayt to the Jewish rabbis in Medina and said to them, 'Ask them about 
Muhammad ; describe him to them and tell them what he says, for they 
are the first people of the scriptures and have knowledge which we do not 
possess about the prophets.' They carried out their instructions, and said 
to the rabbis, 'You are the people of the Taurat, 2 and we have come to 
you so that you can tell us how to deal with this tribesman of ours.' The 
rabbis said, 'Ask him about three things of which we will instruct you ; if 
he gives you the right answer then he is an authentic prophet, but if he 
does not, then the man is a rogue, so form your own opinion about him. 
Ask him what happened to the young men who disappeared in ancient 
days, for they have a marvellous story. Ask him about the mighty traveller 
who reached the confines of both East and W r est. Ask him what the spirit 
is. If he can give you the answer, then follow him, for he is a prophet. If 
he cannot, then he is a forger and treat him as you will.' The two men 
returned to Quraysh at Mecca 3 and told them that they had a decisive way 
of dealing with Muhammad, and they told them about the three questions. 

They came to the apostle and called upon him to answer these questions. 
193 He said to them, 'I will give you your answer tomorrow,' but he did not 
say, 'if God will.' So they went away; and the apostle, so they say, waited 
for fifteen days without a revelation from God on the matter, nor did 
Gabriel come to him, so that the people of Mecca began to spread evil 

1 Sura 68. 15. 

1 Properly the Law of Moses, but often used by Muslim writers of the Old Testament as 
a whole. 

» Mecca is some 180 m. from Medina. The ordinary caravan took 10 or 11 days. The 
fayydra going via al-Khabt did the journey in 5 days. 

The Life of Muhammad 137 

reports, saying, 'Muhammad promised us an answer on the morrow, and 
today is the fifteenth day we have remained without an answer.' This 
delay caused the apostle great sorrow, until Gabriel brought him the 
Chapter of The Cave, in which he reproaches him for his sadness, and 
told him the answers of their questions, the youths, the mighty traveller, 
and the spirit. 

I was told that the apostle said to Gabriel when he came, 'You have shut 
yourself off from me, Gabriel, so that I became apprehensive.' He 
answered, 'We descend only by God's command, whose is what lies 
before us, behind us, and what lies between, and thy Lord does not 

He began the Sura with His own praise, and mentioning (Muhammad's) 
prophethood and apostolate and their denial thereof, and He said, 'Glory 
belongs to God, who has revealed the book to His servant,' 2 meaning 

'Verily thou art an apostle from Me,' i.e. confirming what they ask about 
thy prophethood. 'He hath not made therein crookedness, it is straight,' 
i.e. it is level, without any difference. 'To warn of a severe punishment 
from Him,' that is, His immediate judgement in this world. 'And a painful 
judgement in the next,' that is, from thy Lord, who has sent thee as an 
apostle. 'To give those who believe, who do good works, the good news 
that they will have a glorious reward, enjoying it everlastingly,' i.e. the 
eternal abode. 'They shall not die therein,' i.e. those who have accepted 
your message as true, though others have denied it, and have done the 
works that you have ordered them to do. 'And to warn those who say God 
has taken a son.' He means the Quraysh when they say, 'We worship the 
angels who are the daughters of Allah.' 'They have no knowledge about it, 
nor had their forefathers', who take hardly your leaving them and shaming 
their religion. 'Dreadful is the word that proceedeth from their mouth' 
when they say the angels are God's daughters. 'They say nothing but a 194 
lie, and it may be that thou wilt destroy thyself,' O Muhammad. 'In grief 
over their course if they believe not this saying,' i.e. because of his sorrow 
when he was disappointed of his hope of them; i.e. thou shalt not do it 
(180). 'Verily We have made that which is upon the earth an ornament 
to it to try them which of them will behave the best,' i.e. which of them 
will follow My commandment and act in obedience to Me. 'And verily 
we will make that which is upon it a barren mound,' i.e. the earth and what 
is upon it will perish and pass away, for all must return to Me that I may 
reward them according to their deeds, so do not despair nor let what you 
hear and see therein grieve you (181). 

Then comes the story of what they asked him about the young men, and 
God said: 'Have you considered that the dwellers in the Cave and al- 
Raqlm were wonders from our signs?' i.e. there were still more wonderful 
signs in the proofs I have given to men (182). Then God said: 'When the 195 

1 Sum 19. 65. 2 Sura 18. 

138 The Life of Muhammad 

young men took refuge in the Cave they said, O Lord, show us kindness 
and give us guidance by Your command, so We sealed up their hearing in 
the Cave for many years. Then We brought them to life again that We 
might know which of the two parties would best calculate the time that 
they had been there.' Then He said: 'We will tell you the true account of 
them ; they were young men who believed in their Lord, and We gave them 
further guidance, and We strengthened their hearts. Then they stood and 
said, Our Lord is the Lord of heaven and earth. We will pray to no other 
god but Him. If we were to say otherwise we should speak blasphemy,' 
i.e. they did not associate anyone with Me as you have associated with Me 
what you know nothing about (183). 'These people of ours have chosen 
gods in addition to Him, though they bring no plain authority for them,' 
i.e. a clear proof. 'Who is more wicked than he who invents a lie against 
God ? When you withdraw from them and what they worship instead of 
God, then take refuge in the Cave; your Lord will spread for you by His 
mercy and prepare a pillow for you in your plight. You might see the 
sun when it rises move away from their Cave towards the right, and when 
it sets it would go past them to the left, while they were in a cleft of the 

1 9 6 Cave' (184). 'That was one of the signs of God', i.e. for a proof against 
those of the people of the scriptures who knew their story and who ordered 
those men to ask you about them concerning the truth of your prophecy in 
giving a true account of them. 'Whom God guides is rightly guided, and 
for him whom He leads astray you will find no friend to direct. And 
you would think they were awake while they were sleeping, and we would 
turn them over to the right and the left, while their dog was lying with its 
forepaws on the threshold' (185). 'If you observed them closely you would 
turn your backs on them fleeing, and be afraid of them* up to the words 
'those who gained their point said,' i.e. the people of power and dominion 
among them. 'Let us build a mosque above them; they will say,' i.e. the 
Jewish rabbis who ordered them to ask these questions. 'Three, their dog 
being the fourth of them, and some say five, their sixth being the dog, 
guessing in the dark,' i.e. they know nothing about it, 'and they say seven 
and their dog the eighth. Say: My Lord knows best about their number; 
none knows them save a few, so do not contend with them except with an 
open contention,' i.e. do not be proud with them. 'And do not ask anyone 
information about them,' for they know nothing about it. 'And do not say 
of anything I will do it tomorrow unless you say, If God will. And men- 
tion your Lord if you have forgotten and say, Perhaps my Lord will guide 
me to a nearer way of truth than this,' i.e. do not say about anything which 
they ask you what you said about this, viz. I will tell you tomorrow, and 
make God's will the condition, and remember Him when you have for- 
gotten to do so and say, Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is better 
than what they ask of me in guidance, for you do not know what I am 

197 doing about it. 'And they remained in their Cave three hundred years 
and they added nine,' i.e. they will say this. 'Say: Your Lord knows best 

The Life of Muhammad 139 

how long they stayed there. The secrets of heaven and earth are with Him. 
How wonderfully He sees and hears. They have no friend but Him, and 
He allows none in His dominion as a partner,' i.e. nothing of what they 
ask you is hidden from Him. 

And He said about what they asked him in regard to the mighty traveller, 
'And they will ask you about Dhu'l-Qarnayn ; say, I will recite to you a 
remembrance of him. Verily We gave him power in the earth, and We 
gave to him every road and he followed it' ; so far as the end of his story. 

It i9 said that he attained what no other mortal attained. Roads were 
stretched out before him until he traversed the whole earth, east and west. 
He was given power over every land he trod on until he reached the farthest 
confines of creation. 

A man who used to purvey stories of the foreigners, 1 which were handed 
down among them, told me that Dhu'l-Qarnayn was an Egyptian, whose 
name was Marzuban b. Mardhaba, the Greek, descended from Yunan b. 
Yafith b. Nuh (186). 

Thaur b. Yazid from Khalid b. Ma'dan al-Kala 1, who was a man who 
reached Islamic times, told me that the apostle was asked about Dhu'l- 
Qarnayn, and he said, 'He is an angel who measured the earth beneath by 

Khalid said, "Umar heard a man calling someone Dhu'l-Qarnayn, and 
he said, "God pardon you, are you not satisfied to use the names of 
the prophets for your children that you must now name them after the 
angels?'" God knows the truth of the matter, whether the apostle said 
that or not. If he said it, then what he said was true. 

God said concerning what they asked him about the Spirit, 'They will 
ask you about the Spirit, say, the Spirit is a matter for my Lord, and you 
have only a little knowledge about it.' 2 

I was told on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that he said, W r hen the apostle 
came to Medina, the Jewish rabbis said, 'When you said, "And you have 
only a little knowledge about it," did you mean us or your own people ?' 
He said, 'Both of you.' They said, 'Yet you will read in what you brought 198 
that we were given the Taurat in which is an exposition of everything.' He 
replied that in reference to God's knowledge that was little, but in it there 
was enough for them if they carried it out. God revealed concerning what 
they asked him about that 'If all the trees in the world were pens and the 
ocean were ink, though the seven seas reinforced it, the words of God 
would not be exhausted. Verily God is mighty and wise.' 3 i.e. The Taurat 
compared with God's knowledge is little. And God revealed to him con- 
cerning what his people asked him for themselves, namely, removing the 
mountains, and cutting the earth, and raising their forefathers from the 
dead, *If there were a Quran by which mountains could be moved, or 
the earth split, or the dead spoken to [it would be this one], but to God 
belongs the disposition of all things/ i.e. I will not do anything of the kind 

1 Or 'the Persians'. 2 Sura 17. 87. 1 Sura 31. 26. 

140 The Life of Muhammad 

unless I choose. And He revealed to him concerning their saying, 'Take 
for yourself, meaning that He should make for him gardens, and castles, 
and treasures, and should send an angel with him to confirm what he said, 
and to defend him. 'And they said, "What is this apostle doing, eating 
food, and walking in the markets? Unless an angel were sent to him to be 
a warner with him, or he were given a treasure or a garden from which he 
might eat [we would not believe]"; and the evildoers say, "You follow only 
a man bewitched". See how they have coined proverbs of thee, and have 
gone astray and cannot find the way. Blessed is He, who if He willed, 
could make for thee something better than that,' i.e. than that you should 
walk in the marketplaces, seeking a livelihood. 'Gardens beneath which 
run rivers, and make for thee castles.' 1 

And He revealed to him concerning their saying, 'When We sent messen- 
gers before thee they did eat and walk in the markets, and we made some 
of you a test for others, whether you would be steadfast, and your Lord is 
looking on,' 2 i.e. I made some of you a test for others that you might be 
steadfast. Had I wanted to make the world side with my apostles, so that 
they would not oppose them, I would have done so. 

And he revealed to him concerning what 'Abdullah b. Umayya said, 
'And they said, "We will not believe in thee until fountains burst forth for 

199 us from the earth, or you have a garden of dates and grapes and make the 
rivers within it burst forth copiously, or make the heavens fall upon us in 
fragments as you assert, or bring God and the angels as a surety, or you get 
a house of gold, or mount up to heaven, we will not believe in thy ascent 
until you bring down to us a book which we can read." Say: exalted be my 
Lord, am I aught but a mortal messenger' (187). 3 

200 He revealed to him with reference to their saying 'We have heard that a 
man in al-Yamama called al-Rahman teaches you. We will never believe 
in him'. 'Thus did We send you to a people before whom other peoples 
had passed away that you might read to them that which We have revealed 
to thee, while they disbelieved in the Rahman. Say, He is my Lord, there 
is no other God but He. In Him I trust and unto Him is the return.' 4 

And He revealed to him concerning what Abu Jahl said and intended: 
'Have you seen him who prohibited a servant when he prayed, have you 
seen if he was rightly guided or gave orders in the fear of God, have you 
seen if he lied and turned his back; does he not know that Allah sees 
everything? If he does not cease we will drag him by the forelock, the 
lying sinful forelock ; let him call his gang, we will call the guards of hell. 
Thou shalt certainly not obey him, prostrate thyself and draw near to 
God' (188). 

201 And God revealed concerning what they proposed to him in regard to 
their money, 'Say, I ask no reward of you, it is yours ; my reward is God's 
concern alone and He witnesses everything.' 5 When the apostle brought 

' Sura 25. 8. 1 Sura 25. 22. 1 Sura 17. 92. 

4 Sura 13. 29. ■ Sura 34. 46. 

The Life of Muhammad 14 1 

to them what they knew was the truth so that they recognized his truthful- 
ness and his position as a prophet in bringing them tidings of the unseen 
when they asked him about it, envy prevented them from admitting his 
truth, and they became insolent against God and openly forsook his com- 
mandments and took refuge in their polytheism. One of them said, 'Do 
not listen to this Quran ; treat it as nonsense and probably you will get the 
better of it', i.e. treat it as nonsense and false ; and treat him as a mere 
raver— you will probably get the better of him, whereas if you argue or 
debate with him any time he will get the better of you. 

Abu Jahl, when he was mocking the apostle and his message one day, 
said: 'Muhammad pretends that God's troops who will punish you in hell 
and imprison you there, are nineteen only, while you have a large popula- 
tion. Can it be that every hundred of you is unequal to one man of them ?' 
In reference to that God revealed, 'We have made the guardians of hell 
angels, and We have made the number of them a trial to those who dis- 
believe', to the end of the passage. 1 Whereupon when the apostle recited 
the Quran loudly as he was praying, they began to disperse and refused to 
listen to him. If anyone of them wanted to hear what he was reciting as he 202 
prayed, he had to listen stealthily for fear of Quraysh ; and if he saw that 
they knew that he was listening to it, he went away for fear of punishment 
and listened no more. If the apostle lowered his voice, then the man who 
was listening thought that they would not listen to any part of the reading, 
while he himself heard something which they could not hear, by giving all 
his attention to the words. 

Da ud b. al-Husayn freedman of 'Amr b. 'Uthman told me that 'Ikrima 
freedman of Ibn 'Abbas had told them that 'Abdullah b. 'Abbas had told 
them that the verse, 'Don't speak loudly in thy prayer and don't be silent; 
adopt a middle course,' 2 was revealed because of those people. He said, 
'Don't speak loudly in thy prayer' so that they may go away from you, and 
'Don't be silent' so that he who wants to hear, of those who listen stealthily, 
cannot hear; perhaps he will give heed to some of it and profit thereby. 


Yahya b. 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr told me as from his father that the first man 
to speak ihe Quran loudly in Mecca after the apostle was 'Abdullah b. 
Mas'ud. The prophet's companions came together one day and remarked 
that Quraysh had never heard the Quran distinctly read to them, and who 
was there who would make them listen to it? When 'Abdullah said that 
he would, they replied that they were afraid on his behalf and they wanted 
only a man of good family who would protect him from the populace if 
they attacked him. He replied, 'Let me alone, for God will protect me.' 
So in the morning he went to the sanctuary while Quraysh were in their 

• Sura 74- 3« 

1 Sura 17. no. 

142 The Life of Muhammad 

conferences, and when he arrived at the Maqam, he read, 'In the name of 
God, the compassionate, the merciful,' 1 raising his voice as he did so, 'the 
compassionate who taught the Quran.' Then he turned towards them as 
he read so that they noticed him, and they said, 'What on earth is this son 
of a slavewoman saying?' And when they realized that he was reading 
some of what Muhammad prayed, they got up and began to hit him in the 
face; but he continued to read so far as God willed that he should read. 
Then he went to his companions with the marks of their blows on his face. 

203 They said, 'This is just what we feared would happen to you.' He said, 
'God's enemies were never more contemptible in my sight than they are 
now, and if you like I will go and do the same thing before them tomorrow.' 
They said, 'No, you have done enough, you have made them listen to what 
they don't want to hear.' 


Muhammad b. Muslim b. Shihab al-Zuhri told mc that he was told that 
Abu Sufyan b. Harb and Abu Jahl b. Hisham and al-Akhnas b. Shariq b. 
'Amr b. Wahb al-Thaqafi, an ally of B. Zuhra, had gone out by night to 
listen to the apostle as he was praying in his house. Everyone of them 
chose a place to sit where he could listen, and none knew where his fellow 
was sitting. So they passed the night listening to him, until as the dawn 
rose, they dispersed. On the way home they met and reproached one 
another, and one said to the other, 'Don't do it again, for if one of the 
light-minded fools sees you, you will arouse suspicion in his mind.' Then 
they went away, until on the second night everyone of them returned again 
to his place, and they passed the night listening. Then at dawn the same 
thing happened again, and again on the third night, when on the morrow 
they said to one another, 'We will not go away until we take a solemn 
obligation that we will not return.' This they did and then dispersed. In 
the morning al-Akhnas took his stick and went to the house of Abu 
Sufyan, and asked him to tell him his opinion of what he had heard from 
Muhammad. He replied, 'By God, I heard things that I know, and know 
what was meant by them, and I heard things whose meaning I don't 
know, nor what was intended by them.' Al-Akhnas replied, 'I feel precisely 
the same.' Then he left him and went to Abu Jahl's house, and asked him 
the same question. He answered, 'What did I hear! We and B. 'Abdu Manaf 

204 have been rivals in honour. They have fed the poor, and so have we; 
they have assumed others' burdens, and so have we; they have been 
generous, and so have we, until we have progressed side by side, 2 and we 
were like two horses of equal speed. They said," We have a prophet to 
whom revelation comes from heaven", and when shall we attain anything 

1 Sura 55. 1. 

2 Lit., 'until we have squatted on our knees face to face", i.e. as complete equals. 

The Life of Muhammad 143 

like that? By God, we will never believe in him and treat him as truthful.' 
Then al-Akhnas got up and left him. 

When the apostle recited the Quran to them and called them to God, 
they said in mockery, 'Our hearts are veiled, we do not understand what 
you say. There is a load in our ears so that we cannot hear what you say, 
and a curtain divides us from you, so follow your own path and we will follow 
ours, we do not understand anything you say.' Then God revealed, 'And 
when you read the Quran we put between you and those who do not believe 
in the last day a hidden veil,' 1 as far as the words 'and when you mention 
your Lord alone in the Quran they turn their backs in aversion', that is, 
how can they understand thy assertion that thy Lord is one if I have put 
veils over their hearts and heaviness in their ears, and between you and 
them is a curtain as they allege?' i.e. that I have not done it. 'We know 
best about what they listen to when they listen to you, and when they take 
secret counsel, the wicked say, "You are only following a man bewitched",' 
i.e. that is the way they order people not to listen to the message I have 
given you. 'See how they have made parables of you, and gone astray, 
and cannot find the way, 1 i.e. they have made false proverbs about you, 
and cannot find the right path, and what they say is not straightforward. 
'And they say, when we are bones and dried morsels shall we be raised a new 
creation ?' i.e. you have come to tell us that we shall be raised after death 
when we are bones and dried fragments, and that is something that cannot 
be. 'Say, Be ye hard stones or iron, or anything that you think in your 
minds is harder, they will say, "Who will raise us?" Say, He who created 
you in the beginning,' i.e. He who created you from what you know, for to 
create you from dust is no more difficult than that to him. 

'Abdullah b. Abu Najih from Mujahid from Ibn 'Abbas told me that the 
latter said, 'I asked him what was meant by the word of God "or something 
that you think is harder" and he said, "Death." ' 



Then the Quraysh showed their enmity to all those who followed the 
apostle ; every clan which contained Muslims attacked them, imprisoning 
them, and beating them, allowing them no food or drink, and exposing 
them to the burning heat of Mecca, so as to seduce them from their religion. 
Some gave way under pressure of persecution, and others resisted them, 
being protected by God. 

Bilal, who was afterwards freed by Abu Bakr but at that time belonged 
to one of B. Jumah, being slave born, was a faithful Muslim, pure of heart. 
His father's name was Rib§h and his mother was Hamama. Umayya b. 
Khalaf b. Wahb b. Hudhafa b. Jumah used to bring him out at the hottest 

1 Sura 17. 47. 

H4 The Life of Muhammad 

part of the day and throw him on his back in the open valley and have a 
great rock put on his chest; then he would say to him, 'You will stay here 
till you die or deny Muhammad and worship Al-Lat and al-'Uzza.' He 
used to say while he was enduring this, 'One, one!' 

Hisham b. 'Urwa told me on the authority of his father: Waraqa b. 
Naufal was passing him while he was being thus tortured and saying, 
'One, one,' and he said, 'One, one, by God, Bilal.' Then he went to 
Umayya and those of B. Jumah who had thus maltreated him, and said, 
'I swear by God that if you kill him in this way I will make his tomb a 
shrine.' One day Abu Bakr passed by while they were thus ill-treating 
him, for his house was among this clan. He said to Umayya, 'Have you 
no fear of God that you treat this poor fellow like this ? How long is it to 
go on?' He replied, 'You are the one who corrupted him, so save him from 
his plight that you see.' 'I will do so,* said Abu Bakr; 'I have got a black 
slave, tougher and stronger than he, who is a heathen. I will exchange him 
for Bilal.' The transaction was carried out, and Abu Bakr took him and 
freed him. 

Before he migrated to Medina he freed six slaves in Islam, Bilal being the 
seventh, namely: 'Amir b. Fuhayra, who was present at Badr and Uhud 
206 and was killed at the battle of Bi'r Ma'una; and Umm 'Ubays and-Zinnira 
(she lost her sight when he freed her and Quraysh said, 'Al-Lat and al- 
'Uzza are the ones that have taken away her sight'; but she said, 'By the 
house of God, you lie. Al-Lat and al-'Uzza can neither harm nor heal,' 
so God restored her sight). 

And he freed al-Nahdiya and her daughter who belonged to a woman of 
B. 'Abdu'l-Dar; he passed by them when their mistress had sent them 
about some flour of hers, and she was saying, 'By God, I will never free 
you.' Abu Bakr said, 'Free yourself from your oath.' She said, 'It is free; 
you corrupted them so you free them.' They agreed upon the price, and he 
said, 'I will take them and they are free. Return her flour to her'. They 
said, 'Oughtn't we to finish the grinding and then take it back to her?' 
He said, 'Yes, if you like.' 

He passed by a slave girl of B. Mu'ammil, a clan of B. 'Adiy b. Ka'b who 
was a Muslim. 'Umar b. al-Khattab was punishing her to make her give 
up Islam. At that time he was a polythcist. He beat her until he was tired 
and said, 'I have only stopped beating you because I am tired.' She said, 
'May God treat you in the same way.* Abu Bakr bought her and freed her. 

Muhammad b. 'Abdullah b. Abu 'Atlq from 'Amir b. 'Abdullah b. al- 
Zubayr from one of his family told me: Abu Quhafa said to his son Abu 
Bakr, 'My son, I see that you arc freeing weak slaves. If you want to do 
what you are doing, why don't you free powerful men who could defend 
you and protect you?' He said, 'I am only trying to do what I am attempting 
for God's sake.' It is said that these verses came down in reference to him 
and what his father said to him: 'As to him who gives and fears God and 
believes in goodness,' up to the divine words, 'none is rewarded by God 

The Life of Muhammad 145 

with favour but for seeking his Lord's most sublime face and in the end he 
will be satisfied.' 1 

The B. Makhziim used to take out 'Ammar b. Yasir with his father and 
mother, who were Muslims, in the heat of the day and expose them to the 
heat of Mecca, and the Apostle passed by them and said, so I have heard, 
'Patience, O family of Yasir! Your meeting-place will be paradise.' They 
killed his mother, for she refused to abandon Islam. 

It was that evil man Abu Jahl who stirred up the Meccans against them. 
When he heard that a man had become a Muslim, if he was a man of 
social importance and had relations to defend him, he reprimanded him and 207 
poured scorn on him, saying, 'You have forsaken the religion of your father 
who was better than you. We will declare you a blockhead and brand you 
as a fool, and destroy your reputation.' If he was a merchant he said, 
'We will boycott your goods and reduce you to beggary.' If he was a 
person of no social importance, he beat him and incited people against him. 

Hakim b. Jubayr from Sa'Id b. Jubayr told me: 'I said to 'Abdullah b. 
'Abbas, "Were the polytheists treating them so badly that apostasy was 
excusable?" "Yes, by God, they were," he said, "they used to beat one of 
them, depriving him of food and drink so that he could hardly sit upright 
because of the violence they had used on him, so that in the end he would 
do whatever they said." If they said to him, "Are al-Lat and al-'Uzz5 
your gods and not Allah?" he would say, "Yes" to the point that if a 
beetle passed by them they would say to him, "Is this beetle your God and 
not Allah ?" he would say yes, in order to escape from the suffering he was 

Al-Zubayr b. 'Ukasha b. 'Abdullah b. Abu Ahmad told me that he was 
told that some men of B. Makhzum went to Hisham b. al-Walid when his 
brother al-Walid b. al-Walid became a Muslim. They had agreed to seize 
some young men who had become Muslims, among whom were Salma b. 
Hisham and 'Ayyash b. Abu Rabi'a. They were afraid of his violent 
temper and so they said, 'We wish toadmonish these men because of this 
religion which they have newly introduced; thus we shall be safe in the 
case of others.' 'All right,' he said, 'admonish him, but beware that you 
do not kill him.' Then he began to recite: 

My brother 'Uyays shall not be killed, 
Otherwise there will be war between us for ever. 2 

'Be careful of his life, for I swear by God that if you kill him, I will kill the 
noblest of you to the last man.' They said, 'God damn the man. After 
what he has said who will want to bring trouble on himself, for, by God, 
if this man were killed while in our hands the best of us would be killed to a 
man.' So they left him and withdrew, and that was how God protected 
him from them. 

1 Sura 92. 5. 

2 Lit., 'reciprocal cursing', which was an inseparable accompaniment to war among the 
pagan Arabs. 

B 4080 L 


The Life of Muhammad 


When the apostle saw the affliction of his companions and that though he 
escaped it because of his standing with Allah and his uncle Abu Talib, 
he could not protect them, he said to them: 'If you were to go to Abyssinia 
(it would be better for you), for the king will not tolerate injustice and it is a 
friendly country, until such time as Allah shall relieve you from your 
distress.' Thereupon his companions went to Abyssinia, being afraid of 
apostasy and fleeing to God with their religion. This was the first hijra 
in Islam. 

The first of the Muslims to go were: B. Umayya: ..." 'Uthman b. 
'Affan . . . with his wife Ruqayya, d. the apostle. 

B. 'Abdu'l-Shams: . . . Abu Hudhayfa b. 'Utba . . . with his wife 
Sahla d. Suhayl b. 'Amr one of B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy. 

B. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza: al-Zubayr b. al- Aw warn .... 

B. 'Abdu'l-Dar: . . . Mus'ab b. 'Umayr. 

B, Zuhra b. Kilab: 'Abdu'l- Rahman b. 'Auf 

B. Makhzum b. Yaqza: . . . Abu Salama b. 'Abdu'l- Asad . . . with his 
wife Umm Salama d. Abu Umayya b. al-Mughlra .... 

B. Jumah b. 'Amr b. Husays: . . . 'Uthman b. Maz'un .... 

209 B. 'Adiy'b. Ka'b: 'Amir'b. Rabi'a, an ally of the family of al-Khattab 
of Anz b. W5'il (189), with his wife Layla d. Abu Hathma b. Hudh5fa . . . 

B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy: Abu Sabra b. Abu Ruhm b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. 
Abu Qays . . . b. 'Ainir. Others say it was Abu Hatib b. 'Amr b. 'Abdu 
Shams of the same descent. It is said that he was the first to arrive in 

B. al-Harith: Suhayl b. Bayda'. . . . These ten were the first to go to 
Abyssinia according to my information (190). 

Afterwards Ja'far b. Abu Talib went, and the Muslims followed one 
another until they gathered in Abyssinia; some took their families, others 
went alone. 

B. Hashim: Ja'far . . . who took his wife AsmS' d. 'Umays b. al-Nu'man 
. . . She bare nim 'Abdullah in Abyssinia. 

B. Umayya: 'Uthman b. 'Affan . . . with his wife Ruqayya; . . . 'Amr b. 
Sa'Id b. al-'As . . . with his wife F5tima d. Safwan b. Umayya b. Muhar- 
rith b. Khumal b. Shaqq b. Raqaba b. Mukhdij al-Kinanl, and his brother 
aio Khalid with his wife Umayna (191) d. Khalaf of Khuza'a. She bare him 
his son Sa'Id in Abyssinia, and his daughter Ama who afterwards married 
al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam and bare to him 'Amr and Khalid. Of their 
allies of B. Asad b. Khuzayma: 'Abdullah b. Jahsh . . . b. Asad and his 
brother 'Ubaydullah with his wife Umm Habiba d. Abu Sufyan b. Harb ; . . . 
and Qays b. 'Abdullah . . . with his wife Baraka d. Yasar, a freedwoman of 

1 The dots indicate that the genealogies (which in many cases have been given previously) 
have been cut short. 

The Life of Muhammad 147 

Abu Sufyan ; and Mu'ayqib b. Abu Fatima. These belonged to the family 
of Sa'id b. al-'As, seven persons in all (192). 

B. 'Abdu Shams: . . . Abu Hudhayfa b. 'Utba; . . . Abu Musa al-Ash'ari 
whose name was 'Abdullah b. Qays, an ally of the family of 'Utba. Two 

B. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf: 'Utba b. Ghazwan b. Jabir b. Wahb b. 
Nasib . . . b. Qays b. 'Aylan, an ally of theirs. One man. 

B. Asad: . . . al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam; . . . al-Aswad b. Naufal ; . . . 
Yazid b. Zama'a; . . . 'Amr b. Umayya b. al-Harith. Four men. 

B. 'Abd b. Qusayy: Tulayb b. 'Umayr. . . . One man. 

B. 'Abdu'l-Dar: Mus'ab b. 'Umayr; . . . Suwaybit b. Sa'd; . . . Jahm b. 
Qays . . . with his wife Umm HarmaJa d. 'Abdu'l-Aswad ... of Khuza'a 211 
and his two sons 'Amr and Khuzayma; Abu'I-RQm b. 'Umayr b. Hashim; 
. . . Firas b. al-Nadr b. al-Harith. . . . Five persons. 

B. Zuhra: . . . 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf; . . . 'Amir b. Abu VVaqqas; (AbO 
Waqqas was Malik b. Uhayb); . . . al-Muttalib b. Azhar . . . with his wife 
Ramla d. Abu 'Auf b. Dubayra. . . . She bare his son 'Abdullah in Abys- 
sinia. Their allies: of Hudhayl: 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud . . . and his brother 
'Utba. Of Bahra': al-Miqdad b. 'Amr b. Tha'laba b. Malik b. Rabi'a b. 
Thumama b. Ma$rud b. 'Amr b. Sa'd b. Zuhayr b. Lu'ayy b. Tha'laba 
b. Malik b. al-Sharid b. Abu Ahwaz b. Abu Fa'ish b. Duraym b. al-Qayn b. 
Ahwad b. Bahra* b. 'Amr b. al-Haf b. Quda'a (193). (He used to be called 
Miqdad b. al-Aswad b. 'Abdu Yaghuth b. Wahb b. 'Abdu Manaf b. Zuhra 
because he had adopted him before Islam and taken him into his tribe.) 
Six persons. 

B. Taym b. Murra: al-Harith b. Khalid . . . with his wife Rayta d. al- 
Harith b. Jabala. . . . She bare his son Musa in Abyssinia and his daughters 
'A'isha and Zaynab and Fatima; 'Amr b. 'Uthman b. 'Amr. Two men. 212 

B. Makhzum b. Yaqaza: . . . Abu Salama b. 'Abdu'l-Asad . . . with his 
wife Umm Salama d. Abu Umayya b. al-Mughlra. . . . She bare him a 
daughter, Zaynab, in Abyssinia. (His name was 'Abdullah and his wife's 
name was Hind.) Shammas b. 'Uthman b. al-Sharid; . . . (194). Habbar 
b. Sufyan b. 'Abdu'l-Asad ... and his brother 'Abdullah; Hisham b. 
Abu Hudhayfa b. al-Mughlra; . . . Salama b. Hisham ; . . . 'Ayyash b. Abu 

Rabi'a Of their allies Mu'attib b. 'Auf ... of Khuza'a who was called 

'Ayhama. Eight persons (195). 

B. Jumah b. 'Amr: . . . 'Uthman b. Maz'un . . . and his son al-Sa'ib; his 
two brothers Qudama and 'Abdullah; Hatib b. al-Harith . . . with his wife 
Fatima d. al-Mujallil . . . and his two sons Muhammad and al-Harith ; and 213 
his brother Hatt5b with his wife Fukayha d. Yasar ; Sufyan b. Ma'mar . . . 
with his two sons Jabir and Junada with his wife Hasana who was their 
mother; and their brother on their mother's side Shurahbil b. 'Abdullah 
one of the Ghauth (196); 'Uthman b. Rabi'a b. Unban b. Wahb b. 
Hudhafa. Eleven men. 

B. Sahm b. 'Amr: . . . Khunays b. Hudhafa; . . . 'Abdullah b. al-Harith 

148 The Life of Muhammad 

b. Qays b. 'Adiy b. Sa'd b. Sahm; Hisham b. al-'As b. Wa'il b. Sa'd b. 
Sahm (197) ; Qays b. Hudhafa; . . . Abu Qays b. al-Harith; . . . 'Abdullah 
b. Hudhafa . . . al-Harith b. al-Harith; . . . Ma'mar b. al-Harith; . . . 
Bishr b. al-Harith ... and a brother of his from a Tamimite mother called 
Sa'id b. *Amr; Sa'id b. al-Harith; . . . al-Sa'ib b. al-Harith; . . . *Umayr b. 
Ri'ab b. Hudhayfa b. Muhashshim; . . . Mahmiya b. al-Jaza", an ally of 
theirs from B. Zubayd. Fourteen men. 

B. 'Adiyy b. Ka'b : Ma'mar b. 'Abdullah ; . . . 'Urwa b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza ; . . . 
'Adiy b. Nadla b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza ... and his son al-Nu'man ; 'Amir b.Rabi'a, 
ii4 an ally of the family of al-Khattab from 'Anz b. Wa'il with his wife Layla. 

B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy: Abu Sabra b. Abu Ruhm . . . with his wife Umm 
Kulthum d. Suhayl b. 'Amr; . . . 'Abdullah b. Makhrama b. 'Abdu'l- 
'Uzza; 'Abdullah b. Suhayl . . . Sallt b. 'Amr b. 'Abdu Shams ... and his 
brother al-Sakran with his wife Sauda d. Zama'a b. Qays b. 'Abdu Shams; 
. . . Malik b. Zama'a b. Qays . . . with his wife 'Amra d. al-Sa'di b. 
Waqdan b. 'Abdu Shams; . . . Hatib b. 'Amr b. 'Abdu Shams; . . . Sa'd b. 
Khaula an ally of theirs. Eight persons (198). 

B. al-Harith b. Fihr: Abu 'Ubayda b. al-Jarrah who was 'Amir b. 
'Abdullah b. al-Jarrah ; . . . Suhayl b. Bayda* who was Suhayl b. Wahb 
b. Rabi'a b. Hilal b. Uhayb b. Pabba . . . (but he was always known by his 
215 mother's name, she being Da'd d. Jahdam b. Umayya b. Zarib b. al- 
Harith . . . and was always called Bayda') ; 'Amr b. Abu Sarh b. Rabi'a . . . 
'Iyad b. Zuhayr b. Abu Shaddad b. Rabi'a b. Hilal b. Uhayb b. Pabba b. 
al-Harith; but it is said that this is wrong and that Rabi'a was the son of 
Hilal b. Malik b. Pabba; ... and 'Amr b. al-Harith; . . . 'Uthman b. 
'Abdu Ghanm b. Zuhayr; ... and Sa'd b. 'Abdu Qays b. Laqit ... and 
his brother al-Harith. Eight persons. 

The total number of those who migrated to Abyssinia, apart from the 
little children whom they took with them or were born to them there, was 
eighty-three men if 'Ammar b. Yasir was among them, but that is doubtful. 

The following is an extract from the poetry which has been written in 
Abyssinia by 'Abdullah b. al-Harith b. Qays b. ' Adiy b. Sa'd b. Sahm. They 
were safely ensconced there and were grateful for the protection of the 
Negus; could serve God without fear; and the Negus had shown them 
every hospitality. 

O rider, take a message from me 

To those who hope for the demonstration of God and religion, 1 

To everyone of God's persecuted serv ants, 

Mistreated and hard tried in Mecca's vale, 

Namely, that we have found God's country spacious, 

Giving security from humiliation, shame and low-repute, 

So do not live a life in humiliation 

1 This seems to be an allusion to the last verse of Sura 14. 

The Life of Muhammad 

And shame in death, not safe from blame. 

We have followed the apostle of God, and they 

Have rejected the words of the prophet, and been deceitful. 1 

Visit thy punishment on the people who transgress 

And protect me lest they rise and lead me astray. ax6 

'Abdullah b. al-Harith also said when he spoke of the Quraysh expelling 
them from their country, and reproached some of his people: 

My heart refuses to fight them 

And so do my fingers ; I tell you the truth. 

How could I fight a people who taught you 

The truth that you should not mingle with falsehood ? 

Jinn worshippers exiled them from their noble land 

So that they were exceeding sorrowful ; 

If there were faithfulness in 'Adiy b. Sa'd 

Springing from piety and kinship ties, 

I should have hoped that it would have been among. you, 

By the grace of Him who is not moved by bribes. 

I got in exchange for the bountiful refuge of poor widows 

A whelp, and that mothered by a bitch. 

He also said: 

Those Quraysh who deny God's truth 

Are as 'Ad and Madyan and the people of al-Hijr who denied it. 

If I do not raise a storm let not the earth, 

Spacious land or ocean hold me! 

In a land wherein is Muhammad, servant of God. 

I will explain what is in my heart 

When exhaustive search is made. 

Because of the second verse of this poem 'Abdullah was called al-Mubriq, 
the thunderer (or threatener). 

'Uthman b. Maz'un, reproaching Umayya b. Khalaf b. Wahb b. 
Hudhafa b. Jumah, who was his cousin, and who used to ill-treat him 
because of his belief, made the following verses. Umayya was a leader 
among his people at that time. 

O Taym b. 'Amr, I wonder at him who came in enmity, 
, When the sea and the broad high land lay between us, 2 

' Such is the commentators' explanation of 'gone high in the balance'. The line U 
explained by Lane. 22006; it begins 'They said We have followed', ice. 

1 Commentators find this verse difficult. Abu Dharr says that sharmdn is a place-name, 
or with other vowels it means the sea; while bark is either another place-name or a herd of 
kneeling camels. Akta'u meaning 'all' is generally preceded by ajma'u. Suhayli says that 
sharmdn is the sea and bark is wide high ground. He prefers the opening line to begin: 
'O Taym b. 'Amr, I wonder at him whose anger burned.' Suhayli is right. In Eth. barka 

1 50 The Life of Muhammad 

Did you drive mc out of Mecca's vale where I was safe 
And make me live in a loathsome white castle. 1 
You feather arrows, whose feathering will not help you ; 
You sharpen arrows, whose feathers are all for you ; 
You fight noble strong people 

And destroy those from whom you once sought help. 
You will know one day, when misfortune attacks you 
n And strangers betray you, what you have done. 

Taym b. 'Amr, whom 'Uthman addresses, was Jumah. His name was 


When Quraysh saw that the prophet's companions were safely ensconced 
in Abyssinia and had found security there, they decided among themselves 
to send two determined men of their number to the Negus to get them sent 
back, so that they could seduce them from their religion and get them out of 
the home in which they were living in peace. So they sent 'Abdullah b. 
Abu Rabi'a and 'Amr b. al-'As b. Wa'il. They got together some presents 
for them to take to the Negus and his generals. When Abu Talib perceived 
their design he composed the following verse for the Negus to move him 
to treat them kindly and protect them: 

Would that 1 knew how far-away Ja'far and 'Amr fare, 

(The bitterest enemies are oft the nearest in blood). 

Does the Negus still treat Ja'far and his companions kindly, 

Or has the mischief-maker prevented him ? 

Thou art noble and generous, mayst thou escape calamity; 

No refugees are unhappy with thee. 

Know that God has increased thy happiness 

And all prosperity cleaves to thee. 

Thou art a river whose banks overflow with bounty 

Muhammad b. Muslim al-Zuhri from Abu Bakr b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman 
b. al-Harith b. Hisham al-Makhzuml from Umm Salama d. Abu Umayya 
b. al-Mughlra wife of the apostle said, 'When we reached Abyssinia the 
Negus gave us a kind reception. We safely practised our religion, and we 
worshipped God, and suffered no wrong in word or deed. When the 
8 Quraysh got to know of that, they decided to send two determined men to 
the Negus and to give him presents of the choicest wares of Mecca. 
Leatherwork was especially prized there, so they collected a great many 

• Again the reading and the meaning are in question. $arh means 'castle' or 'room' in 

The Life of Muhammad 151 

skins so that they were able to give some to every one of his generals. They 
sent 'Abdullah and 'Amr with instructions to give each general his present 
before they spoke to the Negus about the refugees. Then they were to 
give their presents to the Negus and ask him to give the men up before he 
spoke to them. They carried out these instructions to the letter, and said 
to each of the generals, 'Some foolish fellows from our people have taken 
refuge in the king's country. They have forsaken our religion and not 
accepted yours, but have brought in an invented religion which neither 
we nor you know anything about. Our nobles have sent us to the king to 
get him to return them, so when we speak to the king about them advise 
him to surrender them to us and not to speak to them, for their own people 
have the keenest insight and know most about their faults.' This the 
generals agreed to do. They took their gifts to the Negus and when he had 
accepted them, they said to him what they had already said to the generals 
about the refugees. Now there was nothing which 'Abdullah and 'Amr 
disliked more than that the Negus should hear what the Muslims had to 
say. The generals about his presence said that the men had spoken truly, 
and their own people best knew the truth about the refugees, and they 
recommended the king to give them up and return them to their own people. 
The Negus was enraged and said, 'No, by God, I will not surrender them. 
No people who have sought my protection, settled in my country, and 
chosen me rather than others shall be betrayed, until I summon them and 
ask them about what these two men allege. If they are as they say, I will 
give them up to them and send them back to their own people ; but if what 
they say is false, I will protect them and see that they receive proper 
hospitality while under my protection.' 

Then he summoned the apostle's companions, and when his messenger 
came they gathered together, saying one to another, 'What will you say to 
the man when you come to him ?' They said, 'We shall say what we know 
and what our prophet commanded us, 'come what may.' When they came 
into the royal presence they found that the king had summoned his bishops 
with their sacred books exposed around him. He asked them what was 
the religion for which they had forsaken their people, without entering into 
his religion or any other. Ja'far b. Abu Talib answered, 'O King, we were 
an uncivilized people, worshipping idols, eating corpses, committing 
abominations, breaking natural ties, treating guests badly, and our strong 
devoured our weak. Thus we were until God sent us an apostle whose 
lineage, truth, trustworthiness, and clemency we know. He summoned us 
to acknowledge God's unity and to worship him and to renounce the 
stones and images which we and our fathers formerly worshipped. He 
commanded us to speak the truth, be faithful to our engagements, mindful 
of the ties of kinship and kindly hospitality, and to refrain from crimes and 
bloodshed. He forbade us to commit abominations and to speak lies, and to 
devour the property of orphans, to vilify chaste women. He commanded 
us to worship God alone and not to associate anything with Him, and he 

The Life of Muhammad 

gave us orders about prayer, almsgiving, and fasting (enumerating the 
commands of Islam). We confessed his truth and believed in him, and we 
followed him in what he had brought from God, and we worshipped God 
alone without associating aught with Him. We treated as forbidden what 
he forbade, and as lawful what he declared lawful. Thereupon our people 
attacked us, treated us harshly and seduced us from our faith to try to make 

220 us. go back to the worship of idols instead of the worship of God, and to 
regard as lawful the evil deeds we once committed. So when they got the 
better of us, treated us unjustly and circumscribed our lives, and came 
between us and our religion, we came to your country, having chosen 
you above all others. Here we have been happy in your protection, and we 
hope that we shall not be treated unjustly while we are with you, O King.' 

The Negus asked if they had with them anything which had come from 
God. When Ja'far said that he had, the Negus commanded him to read it 
to him, so he read him a passage from (Sura) KHY'S. 1 The Negus wept 
until his beard was wet and the bishops wept until their scrolls were wet, 
when they heard what he read to them. Then the Negus said, 'Of a truth, 
this and what Jesus 2 brought have come from the same niche. You 
two may go, for by God, I will never give them up to them and they shall 
not be betrayed.' 

When the two had gone, 'Amr said, 'Tomorrow I will tell him something 
that will uproot them all.' Abdullah, who was the more godfearing of them 
in his attitude towards us, said, 'Do not do it, for they are our kindred 
though they have gone against us.' He said, 'By God, I will tell him that 
they assert that Jesus, son of Mary, is a creature.' 3 He went to him in the 
morning and told him that they said a dreadful thing about Jesus, son of 
Mary, and that he should send for them and ask them about it. He did so. 
Nothing of the kind had happened to them before, and the people gathered 
together asking one another what they should say about Jesus when they 
were asked. They decided that they would say what God had said and what 
the prophet had brought, come what may. So when they went into the 
royal presence and the question was put to them, Ja'far answered, 'We say 
about him that which our prophet brought, saying, he is the slave of God, 
and his apostle, and his spirit, and his word, which he cast into Mary the 
blessed virgin.' The Negus took a stick from the ground and said, 'By 

221 God, Jesus, son of Mary, does not exceed what you have said by the length 
of this stick.' His generals round about him snorted when he said this, 
and he said, 'Though you snort, by God! Go, for you are safe in my 
country.' {Shuyum means al-aminuna.)* Then he repeated three times the 
words, *He who curses you will be fined. Not for a mountain of gold would 

1 Sara 19. 

2 This is the reading of the Cairo text which unfortunately fails to record the MS. on 
which (presumably) it is based. W.'s text reads Moses and he does not record a variant. 

* Lit. 'slave*. 

4 shuyum in Eth. means 'a high official' (sing.) as S. conjectured. Dabr is also an Eth. 
word. The story evidently comes from someone familiar with the language of Abyssinia. 

The Life of Muhammad 


I allow a man of you to be hurt' (199). Give them back their presents, for 
I have no use for them. God took no bribe from me when He gave me 
back my kingdom, that I should take a bribe for it, and God did not do 
what men wanted against me, so why should I do what they want against 
Him.' So they left his presence, crestfallen, taking away their rejected 
gifts, while we lived with him comfortably in the best security. 

While we were living thus, a rebel arose to snatch his kingdom from him, 
and I never knew us to be so sad as we were at that, in our anxiety lest this 
fellow would get the better of the Negus, and that a man would arise who 
did not know our case as the Negus did. He went out against him, and the 
Nile lay between the two parties. The apostle's companions called for a 
man who would go to the battle and bring back news, and al-Zubayr b. 
al-'Awwam volunteered. Now he was the youngest man we had. We 
inflated a waterskin and he put it under his chest, and swam across until 
he reached that point of the Nile where the armies faced one another. Then 
he went on until he met them. Meanwhile we prayed to God to give the 
Negus Victory over his enemy and to establish him in his own country; 
and as we were doing so, waiting for what might happen, up came al-Zubayr 
running, waving his clothes as he said, 'Hurrah, the Negus has conquered 
and God has destroyed his enemies and established him in his land.' 
By God, I never knew us to be so happy before. The Negus came back, 
God having destroyed his enemy and established him in his country, and 
the chiefs of the Abyssinians rallied to him. Meanwhile we lived in happiest 
conditions until we came to the apostle of God in Mecca. 


Al-Zuhri said: I told 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr the tradition of Abu Bakr b. 
'Abdu'l-Rahman from Umm Salama the prophet's wife and he said: 'Do 
you know what he meant when he said that God took no bribe from me when 
He gave me back my kingdom that I should take a bribe for it, and God did 
not do what men wanted against me so why should I do what they want 
against Him?' When I said that I did not know, he said that 'A'isha told 
him that the father of the Negus was the king, and the Negus was his only 
son. The Negus had an uncle who had twelve sons who were of the 
Abyssinian royal house. The Abyssinians said among themselves, 'It 
would be a good thing if we were to kill the father of the Negus and make 
his brother king, because he has no son but this youngster, while his 
brother has twelve sons, so they can inherit the kingdom after him so that 
the future of Abyssinia may be permanently secured.' So they attacked 
the Negus's father and killed him, making his brother king, and such was the 
state of affairs for a considerable time. 

The Negus grew up with his uncle, an intelligent and resolute young 
man. He attained an ascendancy over his uncle to such a degree that when 

154 The Life of Muhammad 

the Abyssinians perceived how great his influence with the king was, they 
began to fear lest he might gain the crown, and would then put them all to 
death because he knew that they were the murderers of his father. Accord- 
ingly they went to his uncle and said, 'Either you must kill this young man 
or you must exile him from among us, for we are in fear of our lives because 
of him.' He replied, 'You wretches, but yesterday I slew his father, and am 
I to kill him today ? But I will put him out of your country.' So they took 
him to the market and sold him to a merchant for six hundred dirhams. 
The latter threw him into a boat and went off with him, but on that very 
evening the autumn storm clouds massed, and his uncle went out to pray 
for rain beneath the mass of cloud when he was struck by lightning and 
killed. The Abyssinians hastened in fear to his sons, and lo! he was a 
begetter of fools ; he had not a son who was any good at all ; the situation of 
the Abyssinians became very unsettled, and when they feared the pressure 
223 of events they said to one another, 'Know, by God, that your king, the 
only one who can put us to rights, is the one you sold this morning, and if 
you care about your country go after him now.' So they went out in search 
of him and the man to whom they had sold him, until they overtook him 
and took the Negus from him. They then brought him home, put the 
crown on his head, made him sit upon the throne, and proclaimed him 

The merchant to whom they had sold him came and said, 'Either you 
give me my money or I shall tell him about this.' They said, 'We will not 
give you a penny.' He said, Mn that case, by God, I will speak to him.' 
They said, 'Well, there he is'; so he came and stood before him and said, 
'O King, I bought a young slave from people in the market for six hundred 
dirhams. They gave me my slave and they took my money, yet when I had 
gone off with my slave they overtook me and seized my slave and kept my 
money.' The Negus said, 'You must either give him his money back or let 
the young man place his hand in his, and let him take him where he wishes.' 
They replied, 'No, but we will give him his money.' For this reason he 
said the words in question. This was the first thing that was reported 
about his firmness in his religion and his justice in judgement. 

Yazld b. Ruman told me from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from 'A'isha that she 
said: 'When the Negus died it used to be said that a light was constantly 
seen over his grave.' 


Ja'far b. Muhammad told me on the authority of his father that the 
Abyssinians assembled and said to the Negus, 'You have left our religion' 
and they revolted against him. So he sent to Ja'far and his companions 
and prepared ships for them, saying, 'Embark in these and be ready. If 
I am defeated, go where you please ; if I am victorious, then stay where you 

The Life of .1 luJiammad 1 5 5 

are.' Then he took paper and wrote, 'He testifies that there is no God but 
Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and apostle ; and he testifies that 
Jesus, Son of Mary, is His slave, His apostle, His spirit and His word, 
which He cast into Mary.' Then he put it in his gown near the right 
shoulder and went out to the Abyssinians, who were drawn up in array to 
meet him. He said, 'O people, have I not the best claim among you?' 224 
'Certainly,' they said. 'And what do you think of my life among you?' 
'Excellent.' 'Then what is your trouble?' 'You have forsaken our religion 
and assert that Jesus is a slave.' 'Then what do you say about Jesus?' 'We 
say that he is the Son of God.' The Negus put his hand upon his breast 
over his gown, (signifying), 'He testifies that Jesus, the Son of Mary, was 
no more than "this".' By this he meant what he had written, but they were 
content and went away. News of this reached the prophet, and when the 
Negus died he prayed over him and begged that his sins might be forgiven. 


When 'Amr and 'Abdullah came to the Quraysh, not having been able to 
bring back the prophet's companions and having received a sharp rebuff 
from the Negus, and when 'Umar became a Muslim, he being a strong, 
stubborn man whose proteges none dare attack, the prophet's companions 
were so fortified by him and Hamza that they got the upper hand of 
Quraysh. 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud used to say, 'We could not pray at the 
Ka'ba until 'Umar became a Muslim, and then he fought the Quraysh 
until he could pray there and we prayed with him.' 'Umar became a 
Muslim after the prophet's companions had migrated to Abyssinia. 
Al-Bakka'i said:' 

Mis'ar b. Kidam from Sa'd b. Ibrahim said that 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud 
said: "Umar's (conversion to) Islam was a victory; his migration to 
Medina was a'help ; and his government was a divine mercy. We could not 
pray at the Ka'ba until he became a Muslim, and when he did so he fought 
the Quraysh until he could pray there and we joined him.' 

'Abdu'l-Rahman b. al-Harith b. 'Abdullah b. 'Ayyash b. Abu Rabl'a 
from Abdu'l-'AzIz b. 'Abdullah b. 'Amir b. Rabi'a from his mother Umm 225 
'Abdullah d. Abu Hathma who said: 'We were on the point of setting out 
for Abyssinia, and 'Amir had gone out for something we needed, when 
'Umar came and stopped beside me, he being a polytheist at the time, and 
we were receiving harsh treatment and affliction from him. He said, "So 
you arc off, O mother of 'Abdullah." "Yes," I said, "we are going to God's 
country. You have violently ill-treated us until God has given us a way 
out." He said, "God be with you," and I saw in him a compassion which 
I had never seen before. Then he went away, and I could see plainly that 
our departure pained him; and when 'Amir came back with the thing 

' This indicates the recension of I.I. which I.H. used. Other MSS. read 'Ibn Hisham 

The Life of Muhammad 

he needed I said to him, "0 father of 'Abdullah, I wish you had seen 'Umar 
just now and the compassion and sorrow he showed on our account." 
When he asked me if I had hopes of his becoming a Muslim, I replied 
that I had, to which he answered, "The man you saw will not become a 
Muslim until al-Khattab's donkey does." This he said in despair of him 
because of his harshness and severity against Islam.' 

The Islam of 'Umar, so I have heard, was on this wise. His sister was 
Fatima d. al-Khattab, and was married to Sa'Id b. Zayd b. 'Amr b. Nufayl, 
both of whom had become Muslims and concealed the fact from 'Umar. 
Now Nu'aym b. 'Abdullah al-Nahham, a man of his tribe from B. 'Adiy 
b. Ka'b, had become a Muslim and he also concealed the fact out of fear 
of his people. Khabbab b. al-Aratt used often to come to Fatima to read 
the Quran to her. One day 'Umar came out, girt with his sword, making for 
the apostle, and a number of his companions, who he had been informed 
had gathered in a house at al-SafS, in all about forty, including women. 
With the apostle was his uncle Hamza, and Abu Bakr, and 'AH, from among 
the Muslims who stayed with the apostle and had not gone out with those 
who went to Abyssinia. Nu'aym met him and asked him where he was 
going. 'I am making for Muhammad, the apostate, who has split up the 
Quraysh, made mockery of their traditions, insulted their faith and their 
226 gods, to kill him.' 'You deceive yourself, 'Umar,' he answered, 'do you 
suppose that B. 'Abdu ManSf will allow you to continue walking upon the 
earth when you have killed Muhammad ? Had not you better go back to 
your own family and set tKeir affairs in order?' 'What is the matter with my 
family?' he said. 'Your brother-in-law, your nephew Sa'Id, and your sister 
Fatima, have both become Muslims and followed Muhammad in his 
religion, so you had better go and deal with them.' Thereupon 'Umar 
returned to his sister and brother-in-law at the time when Khabbab 
was with them with the manuscript of Ta Ha, which he was reading to 
them. When they heard 'Umar's voice Khabbab hid in a small room, or in 
a part of the house, and Fatima took the page and put it under her thigh. 
Now 'Umar had heard the reading of Khabbab as he came near the house, 
so when he came in he said, 'What is this balderdash I heard?' 'You have 
not heard anything,' they answered. 'By God, I have,* he said, 'and I have 
been told that you have followed Muhammad in his religion;' and he 
seized his brother-in-law Sa'Id, and his sister Fatima rose in defence of her 
husband, and he hit her and wounded her. When he did that they said to 
him, 'Yes, we are Muslims, and we believe in God and His apostle, and 
you can do what you like.' When 'Umar saw the blood on his sister he 
was sorry for what he had done and turned back and said to his sister, 
'Give me this sheet which I heard you reading just now so that I may see 
just what it is which Muhammad has brought,' for 'Umar could write. 
When he said that, his sister replied that she was afraid to trust him with it. 
'Do not be afraid,' he said, and he swore by his gods that he would return 

The Life of Muhammad 157 

become a Muslim, and said to him, 'My brother, you are unclean in your 
polytheism and only the clean may touch it.' So 'Umar rose and washed 
himself and she gave him the page in which was Ta Ha, and when he had 
read the beginning he said, 'How fine and noble is this speech.' When 
he heard that, Khabbab emerged and said, *0 'Umar, by God, I hope that 
God has singled you out by His prophet's call, for but last night I heard 
him saying, "O God, strengthen Islam by Abu'l-Hakam b. HishSm or by 
'Umar b. al-Khatfab." Come to God, come to God, O 'Umar.' At that 227 
'Umar said, 'Lead me to Muhammad so that I may accept Islam.' Khab- 
bab replied that he was in a house at al-Safa with a number of his com- 
panions. So 'Umar took his sword and girt it on, and made for the apostle 
and his companions, and knocked on the door. When they heard his 
voice one of the companions got up and looked through a chink in the door, 
and when he saw him girt with his sword, he went back to the apostle in 
fear, and said, 'It is 'Umar with his sword on.' Hamza said, 'Let him in; if 
he has come with peaceful intent, we will treat him well ; if he has come with 
ill intent, we will kill him with his own sword.' The apostle gave the word 
and he was let in. The apostle rose and met him in the room, seized him 
round the girdle or by the middle of his cloak, and dragged him along 
violently, saying, 'What has brought you, son of Khattab, for by God, I do 
not think you will cease (your persecution) until God brings calamity 
upon you.' 'Umar replied, 'O Apostle of God, I have come to you to 
believe in God and His apostle and what he has brought from God.' The 
apostle gave thanks to God so loudly that the whole household knew that 
*Umar had become a Muslim. 

The companions dispersed, having become confident when both 'Umar 
and Hamza had accepted Islam because they knew that they would protect 
the apostle, and that they would get justice from their enemies through 
them. This is the story of the narrators among the people of Medina about 
'Umar's Islam. 

'Abdullah b. Abu Najih, the Meccan, from his companions 'Ata' and 
Mujahid, or other narrators, said that 'Umar's conversion, according to 
what he used to say himself, happened thus : 'I was far from Islam. I was a 
winebibber in the heathen period, used to love it and rejoice in it. We 
used to have a meeting-place in al-Hazwara at which Quraysh used to 
gather 1 near the houses of the family of 'Umar b. *Abd b. Tmran al- 228 
Makhzuml. I went out one night, making for my boon companions in 
that gathering, but when I got there, there was no one present, so I 
thought it would be a good thing if I went to so-and-so, the wineseller, who 
was selling wine in Mecca at the time, in the hope that I might get some- 
thing to drink from him, but I could not find him either, so I thought it 
would be a good thing if I went round the Ka'ba seven or seventy times. 
So I came to the mosque meaning to go round the Ka'ba and there was the 
apostle standing praying. As he prayed he faced Syria, putting the Ka'ba 

1 It was the market of Mecca. 

158 The Life of Muhammad 

between himself and Syria. His stance was between the black stone and 
the southern corner. When I saw him I thought it would be a good 
thing if I could listen to Muhammad so as to hear what he said. If I came 
near to listen to him I should scare him, so I came from the direction of the 
hijr and got underneath its coverings and began to walk gently. Meanu hile 
the prophet was standing in prayer reciting the Quran until I stood in his 
qibla facing him, there being nothing between us but the covering of the 
Ka'ba. When I heard the Quran my heart was softened and I wept, and 
Islam entered into me; but I ceased not to stand in my place until the 
apostle had finished his prayer. Then he went away. When he went 
away he used to go past the house of the son of Abu Husayn, which was 
on his way, so that he crossed the path where the pilgrims run. Then he 
went between the house of 'Abbas and Ibn Azhar b. 'Abdu 'Auf al-Zuhrl; 
then by the house of Al-Akhnas b. Shariq until he entered his own house. 
His dwelling was in al-Dar al-Raqta', which was in the hands of Mu'awiya 
b. Abu Sufyan. I continued to follow him, until when he got between the 
house of 'Abbas and Ibn Azhar I overtook him, and when he heard my 
voice he recognized me and supposed that I had followed him only to 
ill-treat him, so he repelled me, saying, "What has brought you at this 
hour?" I replied that I had come to believe in God and His apostle and 
what he had brought from God. He gave thanks to God and said, "God 
has guided you." Then he rubbed my breast and prayed that I might be 
steadfast. Afterwards I left him. He went into his house.' But God knows 
what the truth was. 

N5fi' freedman of 'Abdullah b. 'Umar on the authority of Ibn 'Umar 
said: When my father 'Umar became a Muslim he said, 'Which of the 
Quraysh is best at spreading reports?' and was told that it was Jamil b. 
Ma'mar al-Jumahl. So he went to him, and I followed after to see what he 
was doing, for although I was very young at the time I understood every- 
thing I saw. He went to Jamil and asked him if he knew that he had become 
a Muslim and entered into Muhammad's religion ; and, by God, hardly 
had he spoken to him when he got up dragging his cloak on the ground as 
'Umar followed him and I followed my father, until he stood by the door 
of the mosque and cried at the top of his voice while the Quraysh were in 
their meeting-places round the Ka'ba, "Umar has apostatized,' while 
'Umar behind him shouted, 'He is a liar; but I have become a Muslim 
and I testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His servant 
and apostle.' They got up to attack him and fighting went on between 
them until the sun stood over their heads, and he became weary and sat 
down while they stood over him, as he said, 'Do as you will, for I swear by 
God that if we were three hundred men we would have fought it out on 
equal terms.' At this point a shaykh of the Quraysh, in a Yamani robe and 
an embroidered shirt, came up and stopped and inquired what was the 
matter. When he was told that 'Umar had apostatized he said, 'Why should 
not a man choose a religion for himself, and what are you trying to do ? Do 

The Life of Muhammad 


you think that B. 'Adly will surrender their companion to you thus ? Let the 
man alone.' By God, it was as though they were a garment stripped off him. 1 
After my father had migrated to Medina I asked him who the man was who 
drove away the people on the day he became a Muslim while they were 
fighting him, and he said, 'That, my son, wasal-'As b. Wa'il al-Sahmi(2oo).' 

'Abdu'l-Rahman b. al-Harith from one of 'Umar's clan or one of his 230 
family said that 'Umar said, 'When 1 became a Muslim that night I thought 
of the man who was the most violent in enmity against the apostle so that 
I might come and tell him that I had became a Muslim, and Abu Jahl 
came to my mind.' Now 'Umar's mother was Hantama d. Hisham b. al- 
Mughlra. So in the morning I knocked on his door, and he came out and 
said, 'The best of welcomes, nephew, what has brought you ?' I answered 
that I had come to tell him that I believed in God and His apostle Muham- 
mad and regarded as true what he had brought. He slammed the door in 
my face and said, 'God damn you, and damn what you have brought.' 


When Quraysh perceived that the apostle's companions had settled in a 
land in peace and safety, and that the Negus had protected those who 
sought refuge with him, and that 'Umar had become a Muslim and that 
both he and Hamza were on the side of the apostle and his companions, 
and that Islam had begun to spread among the tribes, they came together 
and decided among themselves to write a document in which they should 
put a boycott on B. Hashim and B. Muttalib that they should not marry 
their women nor give women to them to marry; and that they should 
neither buy from them nor sell to them, and when they agreed on that they 
wrote it in a deed. Then they solemnly agreed on the points and hung the 
deed up in the middle of the Ka'ba to remind them of their obligations. 
The writer of the deed was Mansur b. 'Ikrima b. 'Amir b. Hashim b. 
'Abdu Manaf b. 'Abdu'l-Dar b. Qusayy (201) and the apostle invoked 
God against him and some of his fingers withered. 

When Quraysh did that, the two clans of B. Hashim and B. al-Mutfalib 
went to Abu Talib and entered with him into his alley and joined him. 
Abu Lahab 'Abdu'l-'Uzza went out from B. Hashim and helped Quraysh. 231 

Husayn b. 'Abdullah told me that Abu Lahab met Hind d. 'Utba when 
he had left his people and joined Quraysh against them, and he said, 'Haven't 
I helped al-Lat and al-'Uzza and haven't I abandoned those who have 
abandoned them and assisted their opponents?' She said, 'Yes, and may 
God reward you well, O Abu 'Utba.' And I was told that among the 
things that he said were, 'Muhammad promises me things which 1 do not 
see. He alleges that they will happen after my death ; what has he put in 
my hands after that?' Then he blew on his hands and said, 'May you 
perish. I can see nothing in you of the things which Muhammad says.' 

1 i.e. 'a fear removed'. 

160 The Life of Muhammad 

So God revealed concerning him the words, 'Abu Lahab and his hands 
God blast (202)." 

When Quraysh had agreed on this and had done what has just been 
described, Abu Talib said: 

Tell Lu'ayy, especially Lu'ayy of the Banu Ka'b, 
News of our condition. 

Did you not know that we have found Muhammad, 

A prophet like Moses described in the oldest books, 

And that love is bestowed on him (alone) of mankind 

And that none is better than he whom God has singled out in love, 

And that the writing you have fixed 

Will be a calamity like the cry of the hamstrung camel? 2 

Awake, awake before the grave is dug 

And the blameless and the guilty are as one. 

Follow not the slanderers, nor sever 

The bonds of love and kinship between us. 

Do not provoke a long-drawn-out war, 

Often he who brings on war tastes its bitterness. 

By the Lord of the temple we will not give up Ahmad, 

To harsh misfortunes and times' troubles, 

Before hands and necks, yours and ours, 

Are cut by the gleaming blades of Qusas 3 

In a close-hemmed battlefield where you see broken spears 

And black-headed vultures circling round like a thirsty crowd. 

The galloping of the horses about the scene 

And the shout of warriors are like a raging battle. 

Did not our father Hashim gird up his loins 

And teach his sons the sword and spear ? 

We do not tire of war until it tires of us ; 

We do not complain of misfortune when it comes. 

We keep our heads and our valour 

When the bravest lose heart in terror. 

They remained thus for two or three years until they were exhausted, 
nothing reaching them except what came from their friends unknown to 

Abu Jahl, so they say, met Hakim b. Hizam b. Khuwaylid b. Asad with 
whom was a slave carrying flour intended for his aunt Khadija, the pro- 
phet's wife, who was with him in the alley. He hung on to him and said, 
'Are you taking food to the B. Hashim ? By God, before you and your food 
move from here I will denounce you in Mecca.' Abii'l-Bakhtarl came to 
him and said, 'What is going on between you two?' When he said that 
Hakim was taking food to the B. Hashim, he said: 'It is food he has which 

1 Sura in. 2 An allusion to the camel of Salih in Sura a6. 142. 

3 Qusas is said to be a mountain of B. Asad containing iron mines. 

The Life of Muhammad 

belongs to his aunt and she has sent to him about it. Are you trying to 
prevent him taking her own food to her? Let the man go his way!' Abu 
Jahl refused until they came to blows, and Abu'l-Bakhtari took a camel's 
jaw and knocked him down, wounded him, and trod on him violently, 
while Hamza was looking on near by. They did not wish the apostle and 
his companions to hear this news "and rejoice over their discomfiture. 
Meanwhile the apostle was exhorting his people night and day, secretly and 
publicly, openly proclaiming God's command without fear of anyone. 



His uncle and the rest of B. Hashim gathered round him and protected 
him from the attacks of the Quraysh, who, when they saw that they could 233 
not get at him, mocked and laughed at him and disputed with him. The 
Quran began to come down concerning the wickedness of Quraysh and 
those who showed enmity to him, some by name and some only referred 
to in general. Of those named are his uncle Abu Lahab and his wife Umm 
Jamil, 'the bearer of the wood'. God called her this because she, so I am 
told, carried thorns and cast them in the apostle's way where he would be 
passing. So God sent down concerning the pair of them : 

Abu Lahab and his hands, God blast, 

His wealth and gains useless at the last, 

He shall roast in flames, held fast, 

With his wife, the bearer of the wood, aghast, 

On her neck a rope of palm-fibre cast. (203) 1 

I was told that Umm Jamil, the bearer of the wood, when she heard what 
had come down about her and about her husband in the Quran, came to 
the apostle of God, when he was sitting in the mosque by the Ka'ba with 
Abu Bakr, with a stone pestle in her hand, and when she stood by the 
pair of them God made her unable to see the apostle so that she saw only 
Abu Bakr and asked him where his companion was, 'for I have been told 
that he is satirizing me, 2 and by God, if I had found him I would have 
smashed his mouth with this stone. By God, I am a poet.* Then she said: 

We reject the reprobate, 
His words we repudiate, 
His religion we loathe and hate. 3 

1 Sum 111. The rhyme of the original has been imitated. 

1 i.e. composed a Hija, which in early times had the effect of a spell which could bring 
the fate it described on its victims. Sec my Prophecy and Divination, pp. 248 ff., 258 ff., 
281 ff. Umm Jamil's object in trying to smash Muhammad's mouth was to destroy his 
organs of speech so that he could no longer utter magical curses. 

• This is a rough attempt to render the rough rhyme of the original, which consists of 
seven syllables, by a strange coincidence similar to the taunt song of children: 

I'm the king of the castle, 
Get out you dirty rascal. 

B 40S0 M 

1 62 The Life of Muhammad 

234 Then she went off and Abu Bakr asked the apostle if he thought she had 
seen him. He replied that she had not because God had taken her sight 
away from him (204). 

The Quraysh had called the apostle Mudhammam to revile him. He 
used to say, 'Aren't you surprised at the injuries of the Quraysh which God 
turns away from me ? They curse me and satirize Mudhammam [reprobate] 
whereas I am Muhammad [the laudable].' 

[Another referred to in the Quran] is Umayya b. Khalaf b. Wahb b. 
Hudhafa b. Jumah. Whenever he saw the apostle he slandered and 
reviled him, so God sent down concerning him, 'Woe to every slandering 
backbiter, who has gathered wealth and increased it, and thinks that his 
wealth will make him immortal. No, he will be thrown to the devouring 
fire. What will make you realize what that is ? It is God's fire kindled which 
mounts over the hearts. It is shut in on them in wide columns (205)." 

Khabbab b. al-Aratt, the prophet's companion, was a smith in Mecca 
who used to make swords. He sold some to al-'As b. Wa'il so that he owed 
him some money and he came to him to demand payment. He answered, 
'Does not Muhammad, your companion whose religion you follow, allege 
that in Paradise there is all the gold and silver and clothes and servants that 

235 his people can desire?' 'Certainly,' said Khabbab. 'Then give me till the 
day of resurrection until I return to that house and pay your debt there ; for 
by God, you and your companion will be no more influential with God 
than I, and have no greater share in it.' So God revealed concerning him, 
'Have you considered him who disbelieves Our signs and says, I shall be 
given wealth and children. Hath he studied the unseen ?* so far as the 
words, 'and we shall inherit from him what he speaks of and he will come 
to us alone.' 2 

Abu Jahl met the apostle, so I have heard, and said to him, 'By God, 
Muhammad, you will either stop cursing our gods or we will curse the 
God you serve.' So God revealed concerning that, 'Curse not those to 
whom they pray other than God lest they curse God wrongfully through 
lack of knowledge.' 3 I have been told that the apostle refrained from cursing 
their gods, and began to call them to Allah. 

Al-Nadr b. al-Harith b. 'Alqama b. Kalada b. 'Abdu Manaf whenever 
the apostle sat in an assembly and invited people to God, and recited the 
Quran, and warned the Quraysh of what had happened to former peoples, 
followed him when he got up and spoke to them about Rustum the Hero 
and Isfandiyar and the kings of Persia, saying, 'By God, Muhammad 
cannot tell a better story than I and his talk is only of old fables which he 
has copied 4 as I have.' So God revealed concerning him, 'And they say, 
Stories of the ancients which he has copied down, and they are read to 

« Sura 104. Z Sura IO - *°. 

J Sura 6. 108. ... u 

• Sura 25. 6. iktataba means to write down oneself, or to Ret *raiethin B written down by 
another. The former seems to be demanded by the context. 

The Life of Muhammad 163 

him morning and night. Say, He who knows the secrets of heaven and 
earth has sent it down. Verily, He is merciful, forgiving.' 1 

And there came down concerning him, 'When Our verses are read to 
him he says, fables of the ancients'.' 

And again, 'Woe to every sinful liar who hears God's verses read before 
him. Then he continues in pride as though he had not heard them, as 
though in his ears was deafness. Tell him about a painful punishment' 
(206). 2 

The apostle sat one day, so I have heard, with al-Walid b. al-Mughlra 236 
in the mosque, and al-Nadr b. al-Harith came and sat with them in the 
assembly where some of Quraysh were. When the apostle spoke al-Nadr 
interrupted him, and the apostle spoke to him until he silenced him. Then 
he read to him and to the others: 'Verily ye and what ye serve other than 
God is the fuel of hell. You will come to it. If these had been gods they 
would not have come to it, but all will be in it everlastingly. There is 
wailing and there they will not hear' (207). 3 

Then the apostle rose and 'Abdullah b. al-Ziba'ra al-Sahml came and 
sat down. Al-Walid said to him: 'By God al-Nadr could not stand up to 
the (grand)son of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib just now and Muhammad alleged 
that we and our gods are fuel for hell.' 'Abdullah said: 'If I had found 
him I would have refuted him. Ask Muhammad, "Is everything which is 
worshipped besides God in Gehenna with those who worship it?" We 
worship the angels; the Jews worship 'Uzayr; and the Christians worship 
Jesus Son of Mary.' Al-Walid and those with him in the assembly mar- 
velled at 'Abdullah's words and thought that he had argued convincingly. 
When the apostle was told of this he said: 'Everyone who wishes to be 2 37 
worshipped to the exclusion of God will be with those who worship him. 
They worship only satans and those they have ordered to be worshipped.' 
So God revealed concerning that 'Those who have received kindness from 
us in the past will be removed far from it and will not hear its sound 
and they abide eternally in their heart's desire', 4 i.e. Jesus Son of Mary and 
'Uzayr and those rabbis and monks who have lived in obedience to God, 
whom the erring people worship as lords beside God. And He revealed 
concerning their assertion that they worship angels and that they are the 
daughters of God, 'And they say the Merciful has chosen a son, (exalted 
be He above this); nay, they are but honoured slaves, they do not speak 
before He speaks, and they carry out His commands', as far as the words, 
'and he of them who says, I am God as well as He, that one we shall repay 
with Gehenna. Thus do they repay the sinful ones.' 5 

And He revealed concerning what he mentioned about Jesus, Son of 
Mary, that he was worshipped beside God, and the astonishment of al- 
Walld and those who were present, at his argument and disputation, 'And 

1 Sura 83. 13. 1 Sura 45- 7- 

3 Sura 21. 98. 4 SO™ **• IO »- 

s Sura 21. 26-30. 

164 The Life of Muhammad 

when Jesus, Son of Mary, was cited as an example thy people laughed 
thereat' i.e. they rejected your attitude to what they say. 2 

Then He mentions Jesus, Son of Mary, and says, 'He was nothing but a 
slave to whom We showed favour and made him an example to the children 
of Israel. If We had wished We could have made from you angels to act 
as vice-regents in the earth. Verily, there is knowledge of the [last] hour, 
so doubt not about it but follow Me. This is an upright path,' i.e. the 
signs which I gave him in raising the dead and healing the sick, therein is 
sufficient proof of the knowledge of the hour. He says: 'Doubt not about 
it, but follow Me. This is an upright path.' 

Al-Akhnas b. Shariq b. 'Amr b. Wahb al-Thaqafi, ally of B. Zuhra, was 
one of the leaders of his people who was listened to with respect, and he 
used to give the apostle much trouble and contradict him, so God sent 
238 down about him: 'Do not obey every feeble oath-taker, slanderer, walking 
about with evil tales,' as far as the word 'zanim'. 3 

He did not say zanim in the sense of 'ignoble' to insult his ancestry, 
because God does not insult anyone's ancestry, but he confirmed thereby 
the epithet given to him so that he might be known. Zanim means an 
adopted member of the tribe. Al-Khatim al-Tamimi said in pagan days: 

An outsider whom men invite as a supernumerary 
As the legs are useless additions to the width of a pelt. 

Al-Walld said: 'Does God send down revelations to Muhammad and 
ignore me, the greatest chief of Quraysh, to say nothing of Abu Mas'ud 
'Amr b. 'Umayr al-Thaqafi, the chief of Thaqif, we being the great ones of 
Ta if and Mecca?' So God sent down concerning him, so I am told, 
'They said, if this Quran had been revealed to a great man of the two towns,' 
as far as the words, 'than what they amass'. 4 

Ubayy b. Khalaf b. Wahb b. Hudhafa and 'Uqba b. Abu Mu'ayt were 
very close friends. Now 'Uqba had sat and listened to the apostle and when 
Ubayy knew of that he came to him and said, 'Do I hear that you have sat 
with Muhammad and listened to him? I swear I will never see you or 
speak to you again (and he swore a great oath) if you do the same again, 
or if you do not go and spit in his face.' 'Uqba, the enemy of God, actually 
did this, God curse him. So God sent down concerning the pair of them, 

1 Sura 43. 57. 

2 A difficult phrase. §adda with the preposition min means 'to laugh immoderately or to 
make a loud noise'. With 'an it means 'to turn away from'. But these two prepositions are 
often interchangeable. Ihn Ishaq's explanation of the passage is that the fact that Christians 
pray to Jesus is no justification for the polytheism of the Meccans, as the latter argued, for 
Christians perverted the message Jesus brought. When Jesus is adduced as an example (of 
one who called an evil people to God) the Meccans rejected Muhammad's attitude towards 
him in what they said; but this exegesis is not sound. The Sura is perfectly consistent in 
showing how prophets were sent to erring peoples and were laughed at. Cf. v. 47: The 
Meccans laugh when Jesus is mentioned because his worship would seem to justify their 
worshipping several gods. The citation which follows shows where in Muhammad's opinion 
they were wrong. I.I. has adopted the reading yaptdduna (so Nafi', I. 'Amir, and al-Kisa'i) 
instead of the commoner yafidduna. 

* Sura 68. 10-13. 4 Sura 4 3- 3<>. 

The Life of Muhammad 165 

'On the day that the sinner bites his hands, saying, would that I had chosen 
a path with the apostle,' as far as the words 'a deserter of men'. 1 

Ubayy took to the apostle an old bone, crumbling to pieces, and saic, 
'Muhammad, do you allege that God can revivify this after it has decayed ?' 
Then he crumbled it in his hand and blew the pieces in the apostle's face. 239 
The apostle answered: 'Yes, I do say that. God will raise it and you, after 
you have become like this. Then God will send you to Hell.' So God 
revealed concerning him, 'He gave us a parable, and he forgot that he was 
created, saying, who will revivify bones which are rotten? Say, He who 
gave them life in the first instance will revivify them. He who knows about 
all creation, who has made for you fire from the green wood, and lo, you 
kindle flame from it.' 2 

There met the apostle, as he was going round the Ka'ba, so I have been 
told, 3 Al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib b. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza and al-Walid b. 
al-Mughlra and Umayya b. Khalaf and al-'As b. Wa'il al-Sahml, men of 
reputation among their people. They said: 'Muhammad, come let us 
worship what you worship, and you worship what we worship. You and 
we will combine in the matter. If what you worship is better than what 
we worship we will take a share of it, and if what we worship is better than 
what you worship, you can take a share of that.' So God revealed con- 
cerning them, 'Say, O disbelievers, I do not worship what you worship, 
and you do not worship what I worship, and I do not worship what you 
worship, and you do not worship what I worship ; you have your religion 
and I have mine,' 4 i.e. If you will only worship God on condition that I 
worship what you worship, I have no need of you at all. You can have your 
religion, all of it, and I have mine. 

(T. Now the apostle was anxious for the welfare of his people, wishing T 119a 
to attract them as far as he could. It has been mentioned that he longed for 
a way to attract them, and the method he adopted is what Ibn Hamid told 
me that Salama said M. b. Ishaq told him from Yazld b. Ziyad of Medina 
from M. b. Ka'b al-Qurazi: When the apostle saw that his people turned 
their backs on him and he was pained by their estrangement from what he 
brought them from God he longed that there should come to him from 
God a message that would reconcile his people to him. Because of his 
love for his people and his anxiety over them it would delight him if 
the obstacle that made his task so difficult could be removed; so that 
he meditated on the project and longed for it and it was dear to him. Then 
God sent down 'By the star when it sets your comrade errs not and is not 
deceived, he speaks not from his own desire,' and when he reached His 
words 'Have you thought of al-Lat and al-'Uzza and Manat the third, the 
other', 5 Satan, when he was meditating upon it, and desiring to bring it 

1 Sura 25. 29. 1 Sura 36. 78. 

1 Ta. "9»- «2 gives the authorities for this tradition as I.I. from Sa'id b. Mini, a freed- 
man of Abu'l-Bakhtari. There are a few verbal discrepancies: the Meccans say, 'If what 
you have brought is better than what we have . . . and if what we have is better than what 
you have*, &c. 4 Sura 109. * Sura 53 i-*>. 

The Life of Muhammad 

(sc. reconciliation) to his people, put upon his tongue 'these are the exalted 
Gharanlq 1 whose intercession is approved.' 2 When Quraysh heard that, 
they were delighted and greatly pleased at the way in which he spoke of 
their gods and they listened to him ; while the believers were holding that 
what their prophet brought them from their Lord was true, not suspecting 
a mistake or a vain desire or a slip, and when he reached the prostration 3 
and the end of the Sura in which he prostrated himself the Muslims 
prostrated themselves when their prophet prostrated confirming what he 
brought and obeying his command, and the polytheists of Quraysh and 
other* who were in the mosque prostrated when they heard the mention of 
their gods, so that everyone in the mosque believer and unbeliever pro- 
strated, except al-Walid b. al-Mughlra who was an old man who could not 
do so, so he took a handful of dirt from the valley and bent over it. Then 
the people dispersed and Quraysh went out, delighted at what had been 
said about their gods, saying, 'Muhammad has spoken of our gods in 
splendid fashion. He alleged in what he read that they are the exalted 
Gharanlq whose intercession is approved.' 

The news reached the prophet's companions who were in Abyssinia, it 
being reported that Quraysh had accepted Islam, so some men started to 
return while others remained behind. Then Gabriel came to the apostle 
and said, 'What have you done, Muhammad? You have read to these 
people something I did not bring you from God and you have said what 
He did not say to you. The apostle was bitterly grieved and was greatly 
in fear of God. So God sent down (a revelation), for He was merciful to 
him, comforting him and making light of the affair and telling him that 
every prophet and apostle before him desired as he desired and wanted 
what he wanted and Satan interjected something into his desires as he had 
on his tongue. So God annulled what Satan had suggested and God 
established His verses i.e. you are just like the prophets and apostles. Then 
God sent down: 'We have not sent a prophet or apostle before you but 
when he longed Satan cast suggestions into his longing. But God will annul 
what Satan has suggested. Then God will establish his verses, God being 
knowing and wise.' 4 Thus God relieved his prophet's grief, and made him 
feel safe from his fears and annulled what Satan had suggested in the words 
used above about their gods by his revelation 'Are yours the males and His 
the females? That were indeed an unfair division' (i.e. most unjust); 
'they are nothing but names which your fathers gave them' as far as the 
words 'to whom he pleases and accepts', 5 i.e. how can the intercession of 
their gods avail with Him ? 

When the annulment of what Satan had put upon the prophet's tongue 

1 The word is said to mean 'Xumidian cranes' which fly at a great height. 
1 Another reading is lurtajd 'to be hoped for'. 
1 Mentioned in the last verse of the Sura. 

4 Sura 22. 51. The following verse is not without relevance in this context: 'that He may 
make what Satan suggested a temptation to those whose hearts are diseased and hardened'. 

5 Su ™ 53. 19-27. 

came from God, Quraysh said: 'Muhammad has repented of what he said 
about the position of your gods with Allah, altered it and brought some- 
thing else.' Now those two words which Satan had put upon the apostle's 
tongue were in the mouth of every polytheist and they became more 
violently hostile to the Muslims and the apostle's followers. Meanwhile 
those of his companions who had left Abyssinia when they heard that the 
people of Mecca had accepted Islam when they prostrated themselves with 
the apostle, heard when they approached Mecca that the report was false 
and none came into the town without the promise of protection or secretly. 
Of those who did come into Mecca and stayed there until he migrated to 
Medina and were present at Badr with him was 'Uthman b. 'Affan . . . with 
his wife Ruqayya d. of the apostle and Abu Hudhayfa b. 'Utba with his 
wife Sahla d. of Suhayl, and a number of others, in all thirty-three men.' 

Abu Jahl b. Hisham, when God mentioned the tree of al-Zaqqiim to 
strike terror into them, said: 'O Quraysh, do you know what the tree of 
al-Zaqqum with which Muhammad would scare you is ?* When they said 
that they did not he said: 'It is Yathrib dates buttered. By Allah, if we 
get hold of them we will gulp them down in one!' So God sent down con- 
cerning him, 'Verily the tree of al-Zaqqum is the food of the sinner like 
molten brass seething in their bellies like boiling water,' 2 i.e. it is not as he 240 
said (208). God revealed concerning it, 'And the tree which is cursed in 
the Quran; and We will frighten them, but it increases them in naught 
save great wickedness.' J 

Al-Walid was having a long conversation with the apostle who greatly 
desired to convert him to Islam when I. Umm Maktum, a blind man, 
passed by and began to ask the apostle to recite the Quran. The prophet 
found this hard to bear and it annoyed him, because he was diverting him 
from al-Walid and spoiling the chance of his conversion ; and when the 
man became importunate he went off frowning and left him. So God 
revealed concerning him, 'He frowned and turned his back when the 
blind man came to him' as far as the words 'in books honoured, exalted, 
and purified', 4 i.e. I sent you only to be an evangelist and a reprover; I did 
not specify one person to the exclusion of another, so withhold not (the 
message) from him who seeks it, and do not waste time over one who does 
not want it (209). 


The apostle's companions who had gone to Abyssinia heard that the 
Meccans had accepted Islam and they set out for the homeland. But when 
they got near Mecca they learned that the report was false, so that they 

' A parallel tradition from M. b. Ka'b al-Qurazi and M. b. Qays is given by T- "9S-6. 
2 Sura 44. 43. Suhayli, p. 228, has an interesting note to the effect that this word is of 
Yamani origin, and that there it means anything which causes vomiting. 
> Sura 17. 62. 4 Sura 80. 


The Life of Muhammad 

entered the town under the protection of a citizen or by stealth. Some of 
those who returned to him stayed in Mecca until they migrated to Medina 
and were present at Badr and Uhud with the apostle; others were shut 
away from the prophet until Badr and other events were passed; and 
others died in Mecca. They were: 

From B. 'Abdu Shams b. 'Abdu Manaf b. Qusayy: 'Uthman b. 'AfTan 
b. Abu'l-'As b. Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams and his wife, the apostle's 
daughter Ruqayya; Abu Hudhayfa b. 'Utba b. Rabi'a and his wife Sahla d. 
Suhayl b. 'Amr; and one of their allies 'Abdullah b. Jahsh b. Ri'ab. 

From B. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf: 'Utba b. Ghazwan, an ally of theirs 
from Qays b. 'Aylan. 

From B. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. Qusayy: al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam 
b. Khuwaylid b. Asad. 

From B. 'Abdu'l-Dar b. Qusayy: Mus'ab b. 'Umayr b. Hashim b. 
'Abdu Manaf ; and Suwaybit b. Sa'd b. Harmala. 

From B. 'Abd b. Qusayy: Tulayb b. 'Umayr b. Wahb. 

From B. Zuhra b. KilSb:' 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. *Auf b. 'Abdu 'Auf 
b. 'Abd b. al-Harith b. Zuhra; and al-Miqdad b. 'Amr an ally, and 
'Abdullah b. Mas'ud also an ally. 

From B. Makhzum b. Yaqaza: Abu Salama b. 'Abdu'l-Asad b. Hilal 
b. 'Abdullah b. 'Amr with his wife Umm Salama d. Abu Umayya b. 
al-Mughlra; and Shammas b. 'Uthman b. al-Shand b. Suwayd b. 
Harmly b. 'Amir ; and Salama b. Hisham b. al-Mughlra whom his uncle 
imprisoned in Mecca so that he did not get to Medina until after Badr 
and Uhud and the Trench; 'Ayyash b. Abu Rabi'a b. al-Mughlra. He 
migrated to Medina with the prophet, and his two brothers on his mother's 
side followed him and brought him back to Mecca and held him there until 
the three battles were over. Their names were Abu Jahl and al-Harith, sons 
of Hisham. Of their allies 'Ammar b. Yasir, though it is doubted whether 
he went to Abyssinia or not; and Mu'attib b. 'Auf b. 'Amir b. Khuza'a. 

From B. Jumah b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b: 'Uthman b. Maz'un b. 
Habib b. Wahb b. Hudhafa and his son al-Sa'ib b. 'Uthman ; and Qudama 
b. Maz'un ; and 'Abdullah b. Maz'un. 

From B. Sahm b. 'Amr b. Husays b. Ka'b: Khunays b. Hudhafa b. 
Qays b. 'Adly; and Hisham b. al-'As b. Wa'il who was imprisoned in 
Mecca after the apostle migrated to Medina until he turned up after the 
three battles above mentioned. 

From B. 'Adly b. Ka'b: 'Amir b. Rabi'a - one of their allies, with his 
wife Layla d. Abu Hathma b. Hudhafa b. Ghanim. 

From B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy: 'Abdullah b. Makhrama b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza 
b. Abu Qays; Abdullah b. Suhayl b. 'Amr. He was held back from the 
apostle of God when he emigrated to Medina until when the battle of 
Badr was joined he deserted the polytheists and joined the battle on the 
side of the apostle. Abu Sabra b. Abu Ruhm b. 'Abdu'l-'Uzza with his 
wife Umm Kulthum d. Suhayl b. 'Amr; Sakran b. 'Amr b. 'Abdu Shams 

The Life < t f Muhammad 169 

with his wife Sauda d. Zama'a b. Qays. He died in Mecca before the 
apostle emigrated and the apostle married his widow Sauda. Lastly 
Sa'd b. Khaula, one of their allies. 

From B. 1-Harith b. Fihr: Abu 'Ubayda b. al-Jarrah whose name was 
'Amir b. 'Abdullah; 'Amr b. al-Harith b. Zuhayr b. Abu Shaddad; 243 
Suhayl b. Bayda' who was the son of Wahb b. Rabi'a b. Hilal ; and 'Amr 
b. Abu Sarh b*. Rabi'a b. Hilal. 

The total number of his companions who came to Mecca from Abyssinia 
was thirty-three men. The names given to us of those who entered under 
promise of protection are 'Uthman b. Maz'un protected by al-Walid b. 
al-Mughira; Abu Salama under the protection of Abu Talib who was his 
uncle, Abu Salama's mother being Barra d. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib. 

'uthman b. maz'Cn renounces al-walId's protection 

Salih b. Ibrahim b. 'Abdu'l- Rahman b. 'Auf told me from one who had 
got it from 'Uthman saying: When 'Uthman b. Maz'un.saw the misery 
in which the apostle's companions were living while he lived night and 
day under al-Walid's protection he said, 'It is more than I can bear that 
I should be perfectly safe under the protection of a polytheist while my 
friends and co-religionists are afflicted and distressed for God's sake.' 
So he went to al-Walid and renounced his protection. 'Why, nephew,' 
he asked, 'Can it be that one of my people has injured you?' 'No,' he 
answered, 'but I want to be under God's protection: I don't want to ask 
for anyone else's.' Al-Walid asked him to come to the mosque and re- 
nounce his protection publicly as he had given it publicly. When they got 
there al-Walid said: "Uthman here has come to renounce my protection.' 
'True,' said the latter, 'I have found him loyal and honourable in his 
protection, but I don't want to ask anyone but God for protection; so 
I give him back his promise!' So saying he went away. 

[On another occasion when] Labid b. Rabi'a b. Malik b. Ja'far b. 
Kilab was in an assembly of the Quraysh when 'Uthman was present he 
recited a verse: 

Everything but God is vain, 

True! interjected 'Uthman; but when he went on: 244 
And everything lovely must inevitably cease, 

'Uthman cried, 'You lie! The joy of Paradise will never cease.' Labid 
said: 'O men of Quraysh your friends never used to be annoyed thus. 
Since when has this sort of thing happened among you ?' One of the audience 
answered: 'This is one of those louts with Muhammad. They have aban- 
doned our religion. Take no notice of what he says.' 'Uthman objected 
so energetically that the matter became serious. Whereupon that man rose 
to his feet and hit him in the eye so that it became black. Now al-Walid 

170 The Life of Muhammad 

was hard by watching what happened to 'Uthman and he said: 'O nephew, 
your eye need not have suffered this had you remained in sure protection.' 
'Uthman answered: 'Nay by God my good eye needs what happened to 
its fellow for God's sake, and I am under the protection of One who is 
stronger and more powerful than you, O Abu 'Abdu Shams.' Al-Walid 
only said, 'Come, nephew, my protection is always open to you,' but he 
declined it. 


My father Ishaq b. Yasar on the authority of Salama b. 'Abdullah b. 
'Umar b. Abu Salama told me that he told him that when Abu Salama had 
asked Abu Talib's protection some of the B. Makhzum went to him and 
said: 'You have protected your nephew Muhammad from us, but why are 
you protecting our tribesman?' He answered: 'He asked my protection and 
he is my sister's son. If I did not protect my sister's son I could not 
protect my brother's son.' Thereupon Abu Lahab rose and said: 'O 
Quraysh, you have continually attacked this shaykh for giving his protec- 
tion among his ow n people. By God, you must either stop this or we will 
stand in with him until he gains his object.' They said that they would 
not do anything to annoy him, for he had aided and abetted them against 
the apostle, and they wanted to keep his support. 

Hearing him speak thus Abu Talib hoped that he would support him 
in protecting the apostle, and composed the following lines urging Abu 
Lahab to help them both: 

A man whose uncle is Abu 'Utayba 

Is in a garden where he is free from violence. 

I say to him (and how does such a man need my advice ?) 

O Abu Mu'tib stand firm upright. 

Never in your life adopt a course 

For which you will be blamed when men meet together. 
Leave the path of weakness to others, 
For you were not born to remain weak. 
Fight! For war is fair; 

You will never see a warrior humiliated till he surrenders. 
How should you when they have done you no great injury 
Nor abandoned you in the hour of victory or defeat? 
God requite for us 'Abdu Shams and Naufal and Taym 
And Makhzum for their desertion and wrong 
In parting from us after affection and amity 
So that they might get unlawful gains. 

By God's House you lie! Never will we abandon Muhammad 
Before you see a dust-raising day in the shi'b (210). 1 

1 This is the reading of Abu Dharr which seems to me superior to that of W. and C. 
Qatim means 'a thick cloud of dust' and implies men on the march. No satisfactory meaning 

The Life of Muhammad 


ABO bakr accepts ibn al-dughunna's protection and 


Muhammad b. Muslim b. Shihab al-Zuhrl from 'Urwa from 'A*isha 
told me that when the situation in Mecca became serious and the apostle 
and his companions suffered ill treatment from the Quraysh, Abu Bakr 
asked the apostle's permission to emigrate, and he agreed. So Abu Bakr 
set forth and when he had gone a day or two's journey from Mecca he fell 
in with Ibn al-Dughunna, the brother of the B. Harith b. 'Abdu Manat 
b. Kinana, who was at that time head of the Ahablsh. (They were the B. 
al-Harith; and al-Hun b. Khuzayma b. Mudrika; and the B. al-Mus$aliq 
of Khuza'a.) (211.) 

Replying to Ibn al-Dughunna's inquiries Abu Bakr told him that his 246 
people had driven him out and ill-treated him. 'But why,' he exclaimed, 
'when you are an ornament of the tribe, a standby in misfortune, always 
kindly in supplying the wants of others? Come back with me under my 
protection.' So he went back with him and Ibn al-Dughunna publicly 
proclaimed that he had taken him under his protection and none must 
treat him other than well. 

He continued : Abu Bakr had a mosque by the door of his house among 
the B. Jumah where he used to pray. He was a tender-hearted man and 
when he read the Quran 1 he was moved to tears. Youths, slaves, and women 
used to stand by him astonished at his demeanour. Some men of Quraysh 
went to Ibn al-Dughunna saying, 'Have you given this fellow protection 
so that he can injure us? Lo, he prays and reads what Muhammad has 
produced and his heart becomes soft and he weeps. And he has a striking 
appearance so that we fear he may seduce our youths and women and weak 
ones. Go to him and tell him to go to his own house and do what he likes 
there.' So Ibn al-Dughunna went to him and said: 'I did not give you 
protection so that you might injure your people. They dislike the place 
you have chosen and suffer hurt therefrom, so go into your house and do 
what you like there.' Abu Bakr asked him if he wanted him to renounce 
his protection and when he said that he did he gave him back his guarantee. 
Ibn al-Dughunna got up and told the Quraysh that Abu Bakr was no 
longer under his protection and that they could do what they liked with him. 

'Abdu'l-Rahman b. al-Qasim told me from his father al-Qasim b. 
Muhammad that as Abu Bakr was going to the Ka'ba one of the loutish 
fellows of Quraysh met him and threw dust on his head. Al-Walld b. 
al-Mughira, or it may have been al-'As b. Wa'il, passed him and he said, 

can be given to qaim. Presumably 'the shi'b of Abu Talib, a defile of the mountains where 
the projecting rocks of Abu Qubays pressed upon the eastern outskirts of the city. It was 
entered from the town by a narrow alley closed by a low gateway through which a camel 
could pass with difficulty. On all other sides it was detached by cliffs and buildings.' Muir, 
The Life of Muhammad, 93 f. 

1 This statement implies that some at least of the Quran was written down before the 
hijra. However, qara'a may not mtan more than 'recite'. 

172 The Life of Muhammad 

247 'Do you see what this lout has done to me?' He replied, 'You have done it 
to yourself!' Meanwhile he was saying three times 'O Lord how long- 
suffering Thou art!' 


The B. Hashim and the B. al-MuJtalib were in the quarters which Quraysh 
had agreed upon in the document they wrote, when a number of Quraysh 
took steps to annul the boycott against them. None took more trouble in 
this than Hisham b. 'Amr ... for the reason that he was the son of a 
brother to Nadla b. Hashim b. Abdu Manaf by his mother and was 
closely attached to the B. Hashim. He was highly esteemed by his people. 
I have heard that when these two clans were in their quarter he used to 
bring a camel laden with food by night and then when he had got it to the 
mouth of the alley he took off its halter, gave it a whack on the side, and 
sent it into the alley to them. He would do the same thing another time, 
bringing clothes for them. 

He went to ?uhayr b. Abu Umayya b. al-Mughira whose mother was 
'Atika d. 'Abdu'l-Mutfalib and said: 'Are you content to eat food and wear 
clothes and marry women while you know of the condition of your maternal 
uncles ? They cannot buy or sell, marry, nor give in marriage. By God I 
swear that if they were the uncles of Abu'l-Hakam b. Hisham and you 
asked him to do what he has asked you to do he would never agree to it.' 
He said, 'Confound you, Hisham, what can I do? I'm only one man. By 
248 God if I had another man to back me I would soon annul it.' He said, 
'I have found a man. Myself.' 'Find another,' said he. So Hisham went 
to al-Muf'im b. 'Adiy and said, 'Are you content that two clans of the B. 
'Abdu Manaf should perish while you look on consenting to follow Quraysh ? 
You will find that they will soon do the same with you.' He made the same 
reply as Zuhayr and demanded a fourth man, so Hisham went to Abu'l- 
Bakhtarl b. Hisham who asked for a fifth man, and then to Zama'a b. 
al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib b. Asad and reminded him of their kinship 
and duties. He asked whether others were willing to co-operate in this 
task and he gave him the names of the others. They all arranged to meet at 
night on the nearest point of al-Hajun above Mecca, and there they bound 
themselves to take up the question of the document until they had secured 
its annulment. Zuhayr claimed the right to act and speak first. So on the 
morrow when the people met together Zuhayr clad in a long robe went 
round the Ka'ba seven times; then he came forward and said : 'O people of 
Mecca, are we to eat and clothe ourselves while the B. Hashim perish, 
unable to buy or sell ? By God I will not sit down until this evil boycotting 
document is torn up!' Abu Jahl, who was at the side of the mosque, 
exclaimed, *You lie by Allah. It shall not be torn up.' Zama'a said, 'You 
are a greater liar; we were not satisfied with the document when it was 
written'. Abii'l-Bakhtari said, 'Zama'a is right. We are not satisfied with 

The Life of Muhammad 173 

what is written and we don 't hold with it.' Al-Mut'im said, 'You are both 
right and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. We take Allah to witness that 
we dissociate ourselves from the whole idea and what is written in the docu- 
ment.' Hisham spoke in the same sense. Abu Jahl said: 'This is a matter 249 
which has been decided overnight. It has been discussed somewhere 
else.' Now Abu T5lib was sitting at the side of the mosque. When al- 
Mut'im went up to the document to tear it in pieces he found that worms 
had already eaten it except the words *In Thy name O Allah'. (T. This T- "98 
was the customary formula with which Quraysh began their writing.) 
The writer of the deed was Mansur b. 'Ikrima. It is alleged that his hand 
shrivelled (212). 

When the deed was torn up and made of none effect Abu Talib com- 
posed the following verses in praise of those who had taken part in the 
annulment : 

Has not our Lord's doing come to the ears of those 

Far distant across the sea 1 (for Allah is very kind to men), 

Telling them that the deed was torn up 

And all that was against God's wish had been destroyed ? 

Lies and sorcery were combined in it, 

But sorcery never gets the upper hand. 

Those not involved in it assembled together for it in a remote place 2 

While its bird of ill omen hovered within its head. 3 

It was such a heinous offence that it would be fitting 

That because of it hands and necks should be severed 

And that the people of Mecca should go forth and flee, 

Their hearts quaking for fear of evil 

And the ploughman be left in doubt what to do — 

Whether to go down to the lowland or up to the hills — 25° 

And an army come up between Mecca's hills 

Equipped with bows, arrows, and spears. 

He of Mecca's citizens whose power rises 

(Let him know) that our glory in Mecca's vale is older. 

We grew up there when men were few 

And have ever waxed great in honour and reputation. 

We feed our guests till they leave a dish untasted 

When the hands of the maysir players would begin to tremble. 

God reward the people in al-Hajun who swore allegiance 4 

' So the commentators, but an unnatural extension of the usual meaning of bahri is 

1 Commentators suggest as an alternative rendering 'those who took it seriously'. Qarqar 
means 'flat soft ground'. 

3 This seems to be an adaptation of Sura 17. 14: 'We have fastened every man's bird of 
ill omen to his neck.' Dr. Arafat suggests that the fair here means 'ghost', the bird which 
emerges from the head of a murdered man, and 
is fluttering within it before it finally emerge*. 

♦ Reading tabdya'u with C. W. has tatdba'6. 

174 The Life of Muhammad 

To a chief who leads with decision and wisdom, 

Sitting by the near side of al-Hajun as though princes, 

Nay they are even more noble and glorious. 

Every bold man helped therein 

Clad in mail so long that it slowed his stride, 

Running to 1 portentous deeds 

Like a flame burning in the torchbcarer's hands. 

The noblest of Lu'ayy b. Ghalib's line 

When they are wronged their faces show their anger. 

With long cord to his sword half his shank bare. 

For his sake the clouds give rain and blessing. 

Prince son of prince of princely hospitality 

Gathering and urging food on his guests. 

Building and preparing safety for the tribesmen 

When we walk through the land. 

Every blameless man kept this peace. 

A great leader, there was he praised. 

They accomplished their work in a night 

While others slept ; in the morning they took their ease. 

They sent back Sahl b. Baida' well pleased 

And Abu Bakr and Muhammad rejoiced thereat. 

When have others joined in our great exploits, 

From of old have we shown each other affection ? 

Never have we approved injustice. 

We got what we wanted without violence. 

O men of Qusayy, won 't you consider, 

Do you want what will befall you tomorrow ? 

For you and I are as the words of the saying: 

'You have the explanation if you could only speak, O Aswad.* 2 

Mourning al-Muf'im b. 'Adiy and mentioning his stand in getting the 
deed annulled, Hassan b. Thabit composed the following: 3 

Weep O eye the people's leader, be generous with thy tears. 

If they run dry, then pour out blood. 

Mourn the leader of both the pilgrim sites 3 

To whom men owe gratitude so long as they can speak. 

If glory could immortalize anyone 

1 Or 'daring'. 

a Commentators explain that Aswad is the name of a mountain on which a dead man was 
found and there was no indication of his murderer. The relatives addressed the mountain 
in the words just quoted which hecame a proverb. 

3 See Ditudn of Hassan b. Thabit, ed. Hartwig Hirschfeld (Gibb Memorial Series), Lon- 
don, 1 910, 43 f. The version given there is sadly at fault, but the text in line 2 tca-rabbahd 
syntactically, though not metrically, a mistake for rabbahumd (instead of I.I.'s kilayhimd) is 
right: 'weep for the lord and master of the two sanctuaries". Cf. Agh. xiii. 6, I. 5 (cited by 
Lammcns, I ' Arabic occidentals Beirut, 1926, p. 146): 'the hurrying between the two 
mash'ars'. I.H., though he denies that I.I. wrote 'both', fails to quote the right reading. 

The Life of Muhammad 175 

His glory would have kept Mut'im alive today. 

You protected God's apostle from them and they became 

Thy slaves so long as men cry labbayka and don the pilgrim garb. 

If Ma'add and Qahtan and all the rest 

Of Jurhum were asked about him 

They would say he faithfully performs his duty to protect 
And if he makes a covenant he fulfils it. 
The bright sun above them does not shine 
On a greater and nobler than he ; 
More resolute in refusing yet most lenient in nature, 
Sleeping soundly on the darkest night though responsible for his 
guest (213). 

Hassan also said in praise of Hisham b. 'Amr for his part in the matter 
of the deed: 

Is the protection of the Banu Umayya a bond 

As trustworthy a guarantee as that of Hisham ? 

Such as do not betray their proteges 

Of the line of al-Harith b. Hubayyib b. Sukham. 

When the Banu Hisl grant protection 

They keep their word and their protege lives securely. 


In spite of his people's behaviour the apostle was continually giving them 
good counsel and preaching salvation from their evil state. When God 
protected him from them they began to warn all new-comers against him. 

Al-Tufayl used to say that he came to Mecca when the apostle was there 
and some of the Quraysh immediately came up to him. (He was a poet 
of standing and an intelligent man.) They told him that this fellow had 
done them much harm; had divided their community and broken up its 
unity; 'in fact he talks like a sorcerer separating a man from his father, his 
brother, or his wife. We are afraid that he will have the same effect on you 
and your people, so don't speak to him or listen to a word from him.' 

They were so insistent that I decided not to listen to a word or to speak 
to him and I went so far as to stuff cotton in my ears when I went to the 
mosque fearing that I might overhear a word or two against my will. 
When I got to the mosque there was the apostle of God standing at prayer 
by the Ka'ba, so I stood near him. God had decreed that I should hear 
something of his speech and I heard a beautiful saying. So I said to myself, 
'God bless my soul! Here am I, an intelligent man, a poet, knowing per- 
fectly well the difference between good and evil, so what is to prevent me 
from listening to what this man is saying? If it is good I shall accept it; 
if it is bad I shall reject it.* 

I stayed until the apostle went to his house and I followed him and 

176 The Life of Muhammad 

entered his house with him. I told him what his people had said and that 

253 they had so scared me that I had stuffed cotton in my ears lest I should 
hear what he was saying. But God had not allowed me to remain deaf 
and I heard a beautiful saying. 'So explain the matter to me,' I said. The 
apostle explained Islam to me and recited the Quran to me. By God I 
never heard anything finer nor anything more just. So I became a Muslim 
and bore true witness. I said, 'O prophet of God, I am a man of authority 
among my people and when I go back and call them to Islam, pray to 
God to give me a sign which will help me when I preach to them.' He 
said, 'O God give him a sign.' 

So I went back to my people and when I came to the pass which would 
bring me down to the settlement a light like a lamp played between my 
eyes and I said, 'O God, not in my face! for I fear that they will think 
that a dire punishment has befallen my face because I have left their 
religion.' So the light moved and lighted on the top of my whip. The 
people began to look at that light attached to my whip like a candle while 
I was coming down from the pass to them. 

When I got down my father came to me (he was a very old man) and 
I said, 'Be off with you, father, for I have nothing to do with you or you 
with me!' 'But why, my son?' said he. I said, 'I have become a Muslim 
and follow the religion of Muhammad.' He said, 'All right, my son, then 
my religion is your religion.' So I said, 'Then go and wash yourself and 
clean your clothes ; then come and I will teach you what I have been taught.' 
He did so; I explained Islam to him and he became a Muslim. 

Then my wife came to me and I said: 'Be off with you, for I have nothing 
to do with you or you with me'. 'Why?' she said, 'my father and mother 
be your ransom!' I said, 'Islam has divided us and I follow the religion 
of Muhammad.' She said, 'Then my religion is your religion.' I said, 
'Then go to the hind 1 (207) (temenos?) of Dhu'I-Shara 2 and cleanse your- 
self from it.' Now Dhu'I-Shara was an image belonging to Daus and the 
himd was the temenos which they had made sacred to him ; in it there was a 
trickle of water from a rivulet from the mountain. She asked me urgently, 
'Have you any fear from Dhu'I-Shara on my account?' 3 'No,' I said, 'I 
will go surety for that.' So she went and washed and when she returned 

254 I explained Islam to her and she became a Muslim. 

Then I preached Islam to Daus but they held back, and I went to the 
apostle in Mecca and said, 'O prophet of God, frivolous preoccupation 4 
has been too much for me with Daus, so invoke a curse on them.* But 

1 No satisfactory explanation of this word is forthcoming, so probably we should adopt 
Ibn Hisham's reading. 

2 On Dhu'I-Shara (Dusares) see E.I. It is a title, not a name, of a Rod long associated 
with the Nabataeans. In all probability the title is geographical, denoting ownership. More 
cannot be safely said at present. 

1 Or 'on the children's account'. 

4 I have followed the commentators in taking a milder meaning than the ordinary sense 
which is 'fornication' , if Dhu'I-Shara was an Arab Dionysos, the normal meaning would 
not be out of place. 

The Life of Muhammad *77 

he said 'O God, guide Daus! Go back to your people and preach to them 
gently ' I continued in the Daus country calling them to Islam until the 
apostle migrated to Medina and. Badr, Uhud, and the Trench were passed 
Then I went to the apostle with my converts while he was in Khaybar. I 
arrived at Medina with seventy or eighty households of Daus, and then we 
joined the apostle in Khaybar and he gave us an equal share of the booty 
with the Muslims. 

I remained with the apostle until God opened Mecca to him and then 
I asked him to send me to burn Dhu'l-Kaffayn, 1 the image of Amr b. 
Humama. As he lit the fire he said: 

Not of your servants am I, Dhu'l-Kaffayn, 
Our birth is far more ancient than thine. 
To stuff this fire in your heart I pine. 

He returned to Medina to the apostle and remained with him until 
God took him. When the Arabs revolted he sided with the Muslims and 
fought with them until they disposed of Tulayha and the whole of Najd. 
Then he went with the Muslims to the Yamama with his son 'Amr, and 
while on the way he saw a vision of which he told his companions asking 
for an interpretation. 'I saw my head had been shaved and a bird was 
coming out of my mouth and a woman met me and took me into her womb, 
and I saw my son seeking me anxiously ; then I saw him withheld from me. 
They said that they hoped it would prove a good omen, but he went on to 
say that he himself would provide the interpretation of it. The shaving of 
his head meant that he would lay it down; the bird which flew from his 
mouth was his spirit; and the woman who received him into her womb 
was the earth which would be opened for him and he would be hidden 
therein; his son's vain search for him meant that he would try to attain 255 
what he had attained. He was slain as a martyr in al-Yamama whi e his 
son was severely wounded and recovered later. He was actually killed 
in the year of the Yarmiik in the time of 'Umar, dying as a martyr (216). 



Despite Abu Jahl's hostility, hatred, and violence towards the apostle 
God humiliated him before him whenever he saw him. 

I was told by 'Abdu'l-Malik b. 'Abdullah b. Abu Sufyan al-Thaqafl 
who had a good memory: A man from Irash (209) brought some camels of 
his to Mecca and Abu Jahl bought them from him. He kept back the 
money, so the man came to the assembly of Quraysh when the apostle 
was sitting at the side of the mosque and said: 'Who among you will 
help me to get what is due to me from Abu'l-Hakam b. Hisham? I am a 

■ According to Ibnul-Kalbi, al-Afnam, Cairo, 1924, p. 37. H belonged to a .ub-section 
of Daus, called the B. Munhib. 

B 4080 N 

178 The Life of Muhammad 

stranger, a wayfarer, and he will not pay his debt.' They said: 'Do you see 
that man sitting there?' pointing to the apostle. (In fact they were making 
game of him for they knew quite well of the enmity between him and Abu 
Jahl.) 'Go to him. He'll help you to your right.' 

So the man went and stood over the apostle and said, 'O Servant of 
God, AbQ'l-Hakam b. Hisham has withheld the money he owes me. I am 
a stranger, a wayfarer, and I asked these men to tell me of someone who 
would help me to my right and they pointed to you, so get my money 
from him, God bless you.' He said, Go to him,' and the apostle got up 
and went with him. When they saw this, the men said to one of their 
number, 'Follow him.' The apostle went to his house and knocked on the 
door, and when he asked who was there he said, 'Muhammad! Come out to 
me.' He came out to him pale with agitation, and the apostle said, 'Pay 
this man his due.' 'One moment until I give him his money,' he said, 
and went indoors and came out again with the amount he owed and paid it 
to the man. The apostle went away saying, 'Go about your business.' 
The Irashite went back to the gathering and said, 'May God reward him, 
for he has got me my due.' 

Then the man they had sent after them came back and reported what 
258 he had seen. 'It was extraordinary,' he said ; 'he had hardly knocked on the 
door when out he came breathless with agitation,' and he related what had 
been said. Hardly had he done so when Abu Jahl himself came up and 
they said: 'Whatever has happened, man? We've never seen anything like 
what you've done.' 'Confound you,' he said; 'By God as soon as he 
knocked on my door and I heard his voice I was filled with terror. And 
when I went out to him there was a camel stallion towering above his head. 
I've never seen such a head and shoulders and such teeth on a stallion 
before. By God, if I 'd refused to pay up he would have eaten me." 


My father Ishaq b. Yasar told me saying: Rukana b. 'Abdu Yazid b. 
Hashim b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib b. 'Abdu Manaf was the strongest man among 
Quraysh, and one day he met the apostle in one of the passes of Mecca 
alone: 'Rukana,' said he, 'why won't you fear God and accept my preach- 
ing?' 'If I knew that what you say is true I would follow you,' he said. 
The apostle then asked him if he would recognize that he spoke the truth 
if he threw him, and when he said Yes they began to wrestle, and when the 
apostle got a firm grip of him he threw him to the ground, he being unable 
to offer any effective resistance. 'Do it again, Muhammad,' he said, and he 
did it again. 'This is extraordinary,' he said, 'can you really throw me?' 
4 1 can show you something more wonderful than that if you wish. I will 
call this tree that you see and it will come to me.' 'Call it,' he said. He 

1 I have endeavoured to reproduce the simple somewhat rough style of the original. 

The Life of Muhammad 179 

called it and it advanced until it stood before the apostle. Then he said, 
'Retire to your place,' and it did so. 

Then Rukana went to his people the B. 'Abdu Manaf and told them that 
their tribesman could compete with any sorcerer in the world, for he had 
never seen such sorcery in his life, and he went on to tell them of what he 
had seen and what Muhammad had done. 


While the apostle was in Mecca some twenty Christians came to him from 
Abyssinia when they heard news of him. They found him in the mosque 
and sat and talked with him, asking him questions, while some Quraysh- 
itcs were in their meeting round the Ka'ba. When they had asked all 
the questions they wished the apostle invited them to come to God and 
read the Quran to them. When they heard the Quran their eyes flowed 
with tears, and they accepted God's' call, believed in him, and declared 
his truth. They recognized in him the things which had been said of him 
in their scriptures. When they got up to go away Abu Jahl with a number 
of Quraysh intercepted them, saying, 'God, what a wretched band you 
are! Your people at home sent you to bring them information about the 
fellow, and as soon as you sat with him you renounced your religion and 
believed what he said. We don't know a more asinine band than you,' or 
words to that effect. They answered: 'Peace be upon you. We will not 
engage in foolish controversy with you. We have our religion and you 
have yours. We have not been remiss in seeking what is best.' 

It is said that these Christians came from Najran, but God knows 
whether that was so. It is also said, and again God knows best, that it was 
in reference to them that the verses 'Those to whom we brought the book 
aforetime, they believe in it. And when it is read to them they say We 
believe in it. Verily it is the truth from our Lord. Verily aforetime we 
were Muslims,' as far as the words, 'We have our works and you have your 
works. Peace be upon you; we desire not the ignorant.' 2 

I asked Ibn Shihab al-Zuhrl about those to whom these verses had 
reference and he told me that he had always heard from the learned that 
they were sent down concerning the Negus and his companions and also 
the verses from the sura of The Table from the words 'That is because 
there are of them presbyters and monks and because they are not proud' 
up to the words 'So inscribe us with those who bear witness'. 3 

W r hen the apostle used to sit in the mosque with his more insignificant 260 
companions such as Khabbab, 'Ammar, Abu Fukayha, Yasar, freedman of 
Safwan b. Umayya b. Muharrith, Suhayb, and their like, Quraysh used 
to jeer at them and say to one another, 'These are his companions, as you 
see. Is it such creatures that God has chosen from among us to give 

1 Or, 'his call'. 

2 Sura 28. 53-55- 

i Sura 5. 85. 

j go The Life of Muhammad 

guidance and truth? If what Muhammad has brought were a good thing 
these fellows would not have been the first to get it, and God would not 
have put them before us.' God revealed concerning them: 'Drive not 
away those who call upon their Lord night and morning seeking His face. 
You are in no way responsible for them, and they are in no way responsible 
for you, so that you should drive them away and become an evildoer. Thus 
We tempt some by others that they may say, Are these they whom God 
has favoured among us? Does not God know best about the grateful? 
And when those who believe in Our signs come to thee say Peace be upon 
you. Your Lord hath prescribed for Himself mercy that he who docth 
evil in ignorance and repenteth afterwards and docth right (to him) He 
is forgiving, merciful." , 

According to my information the apostle used often to sit at al-Marwa 
at the booth of a young Christian called Jabr, 2 a slave of the B. al-Hadraml, 
and they used to say The one who teaches Muhammad most of what he 
brings is Jabr the Christian, slave of the B. al-Hadrami.' Then God revealed 
in reference to their words 'We well know that they say, "Only a mortal 
teaches him".' The tongue of him at whom they hint is foreign, and this is 
a clear Arabic tongue (218). 3 


I have been told that when the apostle was mentioned Al-'As b. Wa'il 
al-Sahmi used to say, 'Let him alone for he is only a childless man with 
no offspring. If he were to die, his memory would perish and you would 
have rest from him.' God sent down in reference to that: 'We have given 
you al-Kauthar,' 4 something which is better for you than the world and all 
that it holds. Kauthar means 'great'. Labld b. Rabi'a al-Kilabl said: 
We were distressed at the death of the owner of Malhub 5 
And at al-Rida' 6 is the house of another great man (kauthar) (219). 

Tafar b. 'Amr (220) told me on the authority of 'Abdullah b. Muslim 
the brother of Muhammad b. Muslim b. Shihab al-Zuhri from Anas b. 
M§lik that the latter said: 'When the apostle was asked what Kauthar was 

262 which God had given to him I heard him say It is a river as broad as from 
San'a' to Ayla. Its water pots are in number as the stars of heaven. Birds 
go down to it with necks like camels. *Umar b. al-Khattab said, "O 
apostle of God the birds must be happy!" He answered "He who eats 
them will be happier still!" * 

» N6Weke? Dtf Islam, v (1914). 163, was of the opinion that this man was an Abyssinian 
slave, the name Gabru (Gabre) meaning 'slave of in Eth 

j g uni j£ aura 100. 

* Ma?hQb'is°said to be either the name of water belonging to the B. Asad b. Kh u "yma. 
or a village of the B. 'Abdullah b. al-Duwal b. Hanifa in al-Yamama ; or a horse. Cf . WW. 
ed. Yusuf al-Chilidi, Wien, 1880, p. 78. u V 'u 

• Pidi' is the name of a watering place of the B. al-A raj b. Ka b. 

The Life of Muhammad 181 

In this connexion (or perhaps some other) I heard that he said: 'He 
that drinketh thereof shall never thirst." 



The apostle called his people to Islam and preached to them, and Zama'a 
b. al-Aswad, and al-Nadr b. al-Harith, and al-Aswad b. 'Abdu Yaghuth, 
and Ubayy b. Khalaf, and al-'As b. Wa il said: 'O Muhammad, if an angel 
had been sent with thee to speak to men about thee and to be seen with 
thee!' Then God sent down concerning these words of theirs: 'They say 
Why hath not an angel been sent down to him ? If We sent an angel down 
the matter would be settled ; they would be given no more time. Had We 
appointed him an angel We would have appointed him as a man and We 
should have obscured for them what they obscure.' 2 



I have heard that the apostle passed by al-Walid b. al-Mughira and 
Umayya b. Khalaf and Abu Jahl b. Hisham and they reviled and mocked 
him, and this caused him distress. So God sent down to him concerning 
this: 'Apostles have been mocked before thee, but that which they mocked 
at hemmed them in.' 3 


Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'i from Muhammad b. Ishaq told me the 
following: Then the apostle was carried by night from the mosque at 
Mecca to the Masjid al-Aqsa, which is the temple of Aelia, when Islam 
had spread in Mecca among the Quraysh and all the tribes. 

The following account reached me from 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud and Abu 
Sa'id al-Khudri, and 'A'isha the prophet's wife, and Mu'awiya b. Abu 
Sufyan, and al-Hasan b. Abu'l-Hasan al-Basrl, and Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri 
and Qatada and other traditionists, and Umm Hani' d. of Abu Talib. It 
is pieced together in the story that follows, each one contributing something 
of what he was told about what happened when he was taken on the night 
journey. The matter of the place 4 of the journey and what is said about it 
is a searching test and a matter of God's power and authority wherein is a 
lesson for the intelligent; and guidance and mercy and strengthening to 
those who believe. It was certainly an act of God by which He took him 

1 Cf. John 4. 14. 
1 Sura 6. 10. 

1 Sura 6. 8. 

4 Or 'time' (nuurd). 

1 82 The Life of Muhammad 

by night in what way He pleased 1 to show him His signs which He willed 
him to see so that he witnessed His mighty sovereignty and power by 
which He does what He wills to do. 

According to what I have heard 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud used to say: 
Buraq, the animal whose every stride carried it as far as its eye could reach 
on which the prophets before him used to ride was brought to the apostle 
and he was mounted on it. His companion (Gabriel) went with him to see 
the wonders between heaven and earth, until he came to Jerusalem's temple. 
There he found Abraham the friend of God, Moses, and Jesus assembled 
with a company of the prophets, and he prayed with them. Then he was 
brought three vessels containing milk, wine, and water respectively. The 
apostle said: 'I heard a voice saying when these were offered to me: If 
he takes the water he will be drowned and his people also; if he takes the 
wine he will go astray and his people also; and if he takes the milk he will 
264 be rightly guided and his people also. So I took the vessel containing 
milk and drank it. Gabriel said to me, You have been rightly guided 
and so will your people be, Muhammad.' 

I was told that al-Hasan said that the apostle said: 'While I was sleeping 
in the Hljr Gabriel came and stirred me with his foot. I sat up but saw 
nothing and lay down again. He came a second time and stirred me with 
his foot. I sat up but saw nothing and lay down again. He came to me the 
third time and stirred me with his foot. I sat up and he took hold of my 
arm and I stood beside him and he brought me out to the door of the 
mosque and there was a white animal, half mule, half donkey, with wings 
on its sides with which it propelled its feet, putting down each forefoot 
at the limit of its sight and he mounted me on it. Then he went out with 
me keeping close to me. 

I was told that Qatada said that he was told that the apostle said: 'When 
I came up to mount him he shied. Gabriel placed his hand on its mane and 
said, Are you not ashamed, O Buraq, to behave in this way? By God, none 
more honourable before God than Muhammad has ever ridden you before. 
The animal was so ashamed that he broke out into a sweat and stood still 
so that I could mount him.' 

In his story al-Hasan said: 'The apostle and Gabriel went their way 
until they arrived at the temple at Jerusalem. There he found Abraham, 
Moses, and Jesus among a company of the prophets. The apostle acted 
as their imam in prayer. Then he was brought two vessels, one containing 
wine and the other milk. The apostle took the milk and drank it, leaving 
the wine. Gabriel said: "You have been rightly guided to the way of nature 2 
and so will your people be, Muhammad. Wine is forbidden you." Then 
the apostle returned to Mecca and in the morning he told Quniysli what 
had happened. Most of them said, "By God, this is a plain absurdity! A 

1 I think that hy Kay/a shaa the author means to leave open the question whether it was 
an actual physical journey or a nocturnal vision. See below. 

a Fifra is an elusive word. The meaning here may be 'the true primeval religion' 

The Life of Muhammad 1 83 

caravan takes a month to go to Syria and a month to return and can Muham- 
mad do the return journey in one night ?" Many Muslims gave up their 
faith ; some went to Abu Bakr and said, "What do you think of your friend 265 
now, Abu Bakr ? He alleges that he went to Jerusalem last night and prayed 
there and came back to Mecca." He replied that they were lying about 
the apostle ; but they said that he was in the mosque at that very moment 
telling the people about it. Abu Bakr said, "If he says so then it is true. 
And what is so surprising in that ? He tells me that communications from 
God from heaven to earth come to him in an hour of a day or night and I 
believe him, and that is more extraordinary than that at which you boggle!" 
He then went to the apostle and asked him if these reports were true, and 
when he said they were, he asked him to describe Jerusalem to him.' Al- 
Hasan said that he was lifted up so that he could see the apostle speaking as 
he told Abu Bakr what Jerusalem was like. Whenever he described a part 
of it he said, 'That's true. I testify that you are the apostle of God' until 
he had completed the description, and then the apostle said, 'And you, 
Abu Bakr, are the Siddiq.' 1 This was the occasion on which he got this 

Al-Hasan continued: God sent down concerning those who left Islam 
for this reason: 'We made the vision which we showed thee only for a test 
to men and the accursed tree in the Quran. We put them in fear, but it 
only adds to their heinous error.' 2 Such is al-Hasan's story with additions 
from Qatada. 

One of Abu Bakr's family told me that 'A'isha the prophet's wife used 
to say: 'The apostles body remained where it was but God removed his 
spirit by night.' 

Ya'qub b. 'Utba b. al-Mughlra b. al-Akhnas told me that Mu'awiya 
b. Abu Sufyan when he was asked about the apostle's night journey said, 
'It was a true vision from God.' What these two latter said does not 
contradict what al-Hasan said, seeing that God Himself said, 'We made 
the vision which we showed thee only for a test to men ;' nor does it con- 
tradict what God said in the story of Abraham when he said to his son, 
'O my son, verily I saw in a dream that I must sacrifice thee,' 3 and he 266 
acted accordingly. Thus, as I see it, revelation from God comes to the 
prophets waking or sleeping. 

I have heard that the apostle used to say, 'My eyes sleep while my heart 
is awake.' Only God knows how revelation came and he saw what he 
saw. But whether he was asleep or awake, it was all true and actually 

Al-Zuhri alleged 4 as from Sa'id b. al-Musayyab that the apostle de- 
scribed to his companions Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, as he saw them that 
night, saying: 'I have never seen a man more like myself than Abraham. 

1 This indicates that the meaning is not 'Veracious' but 'Testifier to the Truth'. 

2 Sura 13. 62. 3 Sura 37. 10. 
4 The verb implies grave doubt as to the speaker's veracity. 

184 The Life of Muhammad 

Moses was a ruddy faced man, tall, thinly fleshed, curly haired with a 
hooked nose as though he were of the Shanu'a. Jesus, Son of Mary, was a 
reddish man of medium height with lank hair with many freckles on his 
face as though he had just come from a bath. 1 One would suppose that his 
head was dripping with water, though there was no water on it. The 
man most like him among you is 'Urwa b. Mas'ud al-Thaqafi (221).' 

The following report has reached me from Umm Hani' d. of Abu 
Jalib, whose name was Hind, concerning the apostle's night journey. 
She said: 'The apostle went on no night journey except while he was in my 
house. He slept that night in my house. He prayed the final night prayer, 
then he slept and we slept. A little before dawn the apostle woke us, and 
when we had prayed the dawn prayer he said, "O Umm Hani', I prayed 
with you the last evening prayer in this valley as you saw. Then I went to 
Jerusalem and prayed there. Then I have just prayed the morning prayer 
with you as you see." He got up to go out and I took hold of his robe and 
laid bare his belly as though it were a folded Egyptian garment. I said, 
"O prophet of God, don't talk to the people about it for they will give you 
the lie and insult you." He said, "By God, I certainly will tell them." 
I said to a negress, a slave of mine, Follow the apostle and listen to what 
he says to the people, and what they say to him. He did tell them and they 
were amazed and asked what proof he had. He replied that he had passed 
the caravan of so-and-so in such-and-such a valley and the animal he 
bestrode scared them and a camel bolted, "and I showed them where it was 
as I was on the way to Syria. I carried on until in Dajanan 2 I passed by a 
caravan of the Banu so-and-so. I found the people asleep. They had a 
jar of water covered with something. I took the covering off and drank 
the water replacing the cover. The proof of that is that their caravan is 
this moment coming down from al-Baida by the pass of al-Tan'im* led by 
a dusky camel loaded with two sacks one black and the other multihued". 
The people hurried to the pass and the first camel they met was as he had 
described. They asked the men about the vessel and they told them that 
they had left it full of water and covered it and that when they woke it was 
covered but empty. They asked the others too who were in Mecca and they 
said that it was quite right: they had been scared and a camel had bolted, 
and they had heard a man calling them to it so that they were able to 
recover it.' 


One whom I have no reason to doubt told me on the authority of Abu 
Said al-Khudri: I heard the apostle say, 'After the completion of my 

1 Dimdt - demotion and indicates the foreign origin of this legend. Cf. Musi b. Uqba, 
No. 1, in Introduction, p. xliii. 

* A mountain in the neighbourhood of Tihama. According to al-Wiqidi it is 25 m. from 

» Baidi* is a hill near Mecca on the Medina side. Tan'Im is on high ground very near 

The Life of Muhammad 1 85 

business in Jerusalem a ladder was brought to me finer than any I have 
ever seen. It was that to which the dying man looks when death approaches. 
My companion mounted it with me until we came to one of the gates of 
heaven called the Gate of the Watchers. An angel called Isma'il was in 
charge of it, and under his command were twelve thousand angels each 
of them having twelve thousand angels under his command.' As he told 
this story the apostle used to say, 'and none knows the armies of God but 
He." When Gabriel brought me in, Ismi'il asked who I was, and when he 
was told that I was Muhammad he asked if I had been given a mission, 2 
and on being assured of this he wished me well. 

A traditionist who had got it from one who had heard it from the 
apostle told me that the latter said: 'All the angels who met me when I 
entered the lowest heaven smiled in welcome and wished me well except 
one who said the same things but did not smile or show that joyful expres- 
sion which the others had. And when I asked Gabriel the reason he told 
me that if he had ever smiled on anyone before or would smile on anyone 
hereafter he would have smiled on me ; but he does not smile because he is 
Malik, the Keeper of Hell. I said to Gabriel, he holding the position with 
regard to God which he has described to you "obeyed there, trustworthy", 3 
"Will you not order him to show me hell?" And he said, "Certainly! 

0 Malik, show Muhammad Hell." Thereupon he removed its covering 
and the flames blazed high into the air until I thought that they would 
consume everything. So I asked Gabriel to order him to send them back 269 
to their place which he did. I can only compare the effect of their with- 
drawal to the falling of a shadow, until when the flames retreated whence 
they had come, Malik placed their cover on them.' 

In his tradition Abu Said al-Khudrl said that the apostle said: 'When 

1 entered the lowest heaven I saw a man sitting there with the spirits of 
men passing before him. To one he would speak well and rejoice in him 
saying: "A good spirit from a good body" and of another he would say 
"Faugh!" and frown, saying: "An evil spirit from an evil body." In 
answer to my question Gabriel told me that this was our father Adam 
reviewing the spirits of his offspring; the spirit of a believer excited his 
pleasure, and the spirit of an infidel excited his disgust so that he said the 
words just quoted. 

'Then I saw men with lips like camels; in their hands were pieces of 
fire like stones which they used to thrust into their mouths and they would 
come out of their posteriors. I was told that these were those who sinfully 
devoured the wealth of orphans. 

'Then I saw men in the way of the family of Pharaoh, 4 with such bellies 
as I have never seen; there were passing over them as it were camels 

Sura 74- 34- 

1 Or perhaps simply "sent for'. *>ur* 81. 31. 

♦ The allusion is to Sur. 40. 49 'Cast the family of Pharaoh int., the worst of all 

1 86 The Life of Muhammad 

maddened by thirst when they were cast into hell, treading them down, 
they being unable to move out of the way. These were the usurers. 

'Then I saw men with good fat meat before them side by side with lean 
stinking meat, eating of the latter and leaving the former. These are those 
who forsake the women which God has permitted and go after those he has 

'Then I saw women hanging by their breasts. These were those who 

270 had fathered bastards on their husbands.' 

Ja'far b. 'Amr told me from al-Qasim b. Muhammad that the apostle 
said: 'Great is God's anger against a woman who brings a bastard into her 
family. He deprives the true sons of their portion and learns the secrets 
of the harim' 

To continue the tradition of Sa'id al-Khudrl: 'Then I was taken up 
to the second heaven and there were the two maternal cousins Jesus, Son 
of Mary, and John, son of Zakariah. Then to the third heaven and there was 
a man whose face was as the moon at the full. This was my brother Joseph, 
son of Jacob. Then to the fourth heaven and there was a man called 
Idris. "And we have exalted him to a lofty place."' Then to the fifth heaven 
and there was a man with white hair and a long beard, never have I seen 
a more handsome man than he. This was the beloved among his people 
Aaron son of 'Imran. Then to the sixth heaven, and there was a dark man 
with a hooked nose like the Shanu'a. This was my brother Moses, son of 
'Imran. Then to the seventh heaven and there was a man sitting on a 
throne at the gate of the immortal mansion. 2 Every day seventy thousand 
angels went in not to come back until the resurrection day. Never have I 
seen a man more like myself. This was my father Abraham. Then he 
took me into Paradise and there I saw a damsel with dark red lips and I 
asked her to whom she belonged, for she pleased me much when I saw 
her, and she told me "Zayd b. Haritha". The apostle gave Zayd the good 
news about her.' 

From a tradition of 'Abdullah b. Mas'ud from the prophet there has 
reached me the following: When Gabriel took him up to each of the 

271 heavens and asked permission to enter he had to say whom he had brought 
and whether he had received a mission 3 and they would say 'God grant 
him life, brother and friend!' until they reached the seventh heaven and 
his Lord. There the duty of fifty prayers a day was laid upon him. 

The apostle said: 'On my return I passed by Moses and what a fine 
friend of yours he was! He asked me how many prayers had been laid 
upon me and when I told him fifty he said, "Prayer is a weighty matter 
and your people arc weak, so go back to your Lord and ask him to reduce 
the number for you and your community". I did so and He took off ten. 
Again I passed by Moses and he said the same again ; and so it went on 

■ Sura 19. 58- . . u 

* al-bavt al-ma'mur. In view of w hat follows this would seem to mean Paradise itself 
(al-janna). > Or 'been sent for*, VJ. 

The Life of Muhammad 187 

until only five prayers for the whole day and night were left. Moses again 
gave me the same advice. I replied that I had been back to my Lord and 
asked him to reduce the number until I was ashamed, and I would not do it 
again. He of you who performs them in faith and trust will have the 
reward of fifty prayers.' 


The apostle remained firm counting on God's assistance, admonishing his 
people in spite of their branding him as a liar and insulting and mocking 
him. The principal offenders — so Yazld b. Ruman from 'Urwa b. al- 
Zubayr told me — were five men who were respected and honoured among 
their tribesmen: of the B. Asad . . . was al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib b. Asad 272 
Abu Zama'a. (I have heard that the apostle had cursed him for his insults 
and mockery, saying, 'O God, blind him and bereave him of his son!') 
Of the B. Zuhra . . . was al-Aswad b. 'Abdu Yaghuth. Of the B. MakhzQm 
. . . was al-Walld b. al-Mughlra ... Of the B. Sahm b. 'Amr . . . was 
al-'As b. Wa'il b. Hisham (222). Of the B. Khuza'a was al-Harith b. 
al-Tulatila b. 'Amr b. al-Harith b. 'Abd b. 'Amr b. Lu'ayy b. Malakan. 

When they persisted in evil and constantly mocked the apostle, God 
revealed: 'Proclaim what you have been ordered and turn away from the 
polytheists. We will surely protect you against the mockers who put 
another god beside God. In the end they will know." 

The same Yazid told me from 'Urwa (or it may have been from some 
other traditionist) that Gabriel came to the apostle when the mockers were 
going round the temple. He stood up and the apostle stood at his side; 
and as al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib passed, Gabriel threw a green leaf in his 
face and he became blind. Then al-Aswad b. 'Abdu Yaghuth passed and he 
pointed at his belly which swelled so that he died of dropsy. Next al-Walid 
passed by. He pointed at an old scar on the bottom of his ankle (the result 
of a wound he received some years earlier as he was trailing his gown when 
he passed by a man of Khuza'a who was feathering an arrow, and the 
arrowhead caught in his wrapper and scratched his foot — a mere nothing). 
But the wound opened again and he died of it. Al-'As passed. He pointed 
to his instep, and he went off on his ass making for al-Ta'if. He tied the 
animal to a thorny tree and a thorn entered his foot and he died of it. 
Lastly al-Harith passed. He pointed at his head. It immediately filled 
with pus and killed him. 


When al-Walid's death was near he summoned his three sons Hisham, 
al-Walid, and Khalid and said: 'My sons, I charge you with three duties; 

1 Sura 15. 94. 

188 The Life of Muhammad 

be not remiss in any of them. My blood lies on the Khuza'a: don't let it 
remain uncompensated. I know that they are innocent of it, but I fear that 
you may be ill spoken of because of it when I am dead. Thaqif owe me 
money in interest; see that you get it. Lastly my dowry money is with 
Abu Uzayhir al-DausI. Don't let him keep it.' Now Abu Uzayhir had 
married him to a daughter of his and then withheld her from him and did 
not let him have access to her up to the day of his death. 

When al-Walid died, the B. Makhzum leaped upon Khuza'a demanding 
blood-money for al-Walid, saying, 'It was your man's arrow that killed 
him.' He was one of the B. Ka'b, an ally of the B. 'Abdu'l-MuUalib b. 
Hashim. Khuza'a refused their demand and a competition in verse 
followed and the situation became tense. The man whose arrow had 
killed al-Walid was one of the B. Ka'b b. 'Amr of Khuza'a, and 'Abdullah 
b. Abu Umayya b. al-Mughlra b. 'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. Makhzum com- 
posed the following lines: 1 

I'll wager that you'll soon run away 

And leave al-Zahran with its yelping foxes. 

And that you'll leave the water in the vale of Atriq5 

And that you'll ask which Arak trees are the best. 

We are folk who do not leave our blood unavenged 

And those we fight do not get to their feet again. 

Al-Zahran and al-Arak were camping-grounds of the B. Ka'b of 

Al-Jaun b. Abii'l-Jaun, brother of the B. Ka'b b. 'Amr al-Khuza'I, 
answered him: 

By God we will not pay unjust bloodwit for al-Walid 

Until you see a day when the stars wax faint ; 

When your stout ones will be overthrown one after another 

Each in death helplessly opening his mouth. 

When you eat your bread and your gruel, 

Then all of you will weep and wail for al-Walid. 

There followed much argument and recrimination until it was apparent 
that it was prestige that was at stake, so Khuza'a paid some of the blood- 
money and they relinquished their claim to the rest. When peace had 
been made al-Jaun said : 

Many a man and woman when we made peace 
Spoke in surprise of what we paid for al-Walid. 
'Did you not swear that you would not pay unjust compensation for 

Until you had seen a day of great misfortune?' 

1 Yaq. i. 310. 

The Life of Muhammad 189 

But we have exchanged 1 war for peace 

Now every traveller may go safely where he will. 

But al-Jaun did not stop there but went on to boast of the killing of 
al-Walid, saying that they had brought about his end, all of which was 
false. As a result al-Walid, his son, and his tribe met what they had been 
warned against. Al-Jaun said : 

Did not al-Mughira claim that in Mecca 

Ka'b was a great force ? 

Don't boast, Mughira, because you see us 

True Arabs and by-blows walk its streets. 

We and our fathers were born there 

As surely as Thablr stands in its place. 

Al-Mughira said that to learn our state 

Or to stir up war between us. 

For Walid's blood will not be paid for: 

You know that we do not pay for blood we shed. 

The auspicious warrior hit him with an arrow 

Poisoned, while he was full and out of breath. 

He fell full length in Mecca's vale. 

'Twas as though a camel fell. 

'Twill save me delaying payment for Abu Hisham with 
Miserable 2 little curly haired camels (223). 

Then Hisham b. al-Walid attacked Abu Uzayhir while he was in the 
market of Dhu'l-Majaz. Now his daughter 'Atika was the wife of Abu 
Sufyan b. Harb. Abu Uzayhir was a chief among his people and Hisham 
killed him for the dowry money belonging to al-Walid which he had re- 
tained, in accordance with his father's dying injunction. This happened 275 
after the apostle's migration to Medina. Badr was over and many of the 
leaders of heathen Quraysh had been slain. Yazid b. Abu Sufyan went out 
and collected the B. 'Abdu Man5f while Abu Sufyan was in Dhu'l-Majaz, 
and people said Abu Sufyan's honour in the matter of his father-in-law had 
been violated and he will take vengeance for him. When Abu Sufyan heard 
of what his son Yazid had done he came down to Mecca as fast as he could. 
He was a mild but astute man who loved his people exceedingly, and he 
was afraid that there might be serious trouble among Quraysh because 
of AbQ Uzayhir. So he went straight to his son, who was armed among his 
people the B. 'Abdu Manaf and the 'scented ones', took his spear out of his 
hand and hit him hard on the head with it, saying, 'God damn you! Do 
you wish to cause civil war among Quraysh for the sake of a man from 
Daus ? We will pay them the bloodmoney if they will accept it.' Thus he 
put an end to the matter. 

' Lit. 'mingled'. _ 
2 khur is the pi. of khawtvdr, 'weak', 'wretched', not 'abounding in milk as the commenta- 
♦«r> explain. See Nttldeke, Funf Mu'allaqdt, vii. 44. 

I qo / fi( I sift of \litJi(i)}i)iiii(I 

Hassan b. Thabit composed the following lines to excite feeling for 
the murder of Abu Uzayhir and to bring shame on Abu Sufyan for his 
cowardice and betrayal of trust: 

The people on both sides of Dhu'l-Majaz rose one morning, 

But Ibn Harb's protege in Mughammas 1 did not! 

The farting donkey did not protect him he was bound to defend. - 

Hind did not avert her father's shame. 

Hisham b. al-Walld covered you with his garments, 

Wear them out and mend new ones like them later. 

He got what he wanted from him and became famous. 

But you were utterly useless. 

If the shaykhs at Badr had been present 

The people's sandals would have been red with blood newly shell. 

When he heard of this satire Abu Sufyan said* 'Hassan wants us to 
fight one another for the sake of a man from Daus. By God, what a 
poor idea!' 

Khalid b. al-Walid when the people of Ta'if became Muslims spoke to 
the apostle ?bout his father's interest which Thaqtf owed him, and a 
traditionist told 'me that those verses which prohibit the carrying over of 
usury from the Jahiliya arose out of Khalid's demanding interest: '() ye 
76 who believe, fear God and give up what usury remains to you if you are 
(really) believers', to the end of the passage. 3 

So far as \vc know there was no vengeance for Abu Uzayhir until Islam 
made a clear cut between men; however, Dirar b. al-Khattab b. Mirdas 
al-Fihri went out with a number of Quraysh to the Daus country, and 
came to the dwelling of a woman called Umm Ghaylan, a freedwoman of 
Daus. She used to comb the women's hair and prepare brides for their 
husbands. Daus wanted to kill them in revenge for Abu Uzayhir, but 
Umm Ghaylan and the women stood in their way and defended them. It 
was in reference to that that Pirar said: 

God reward Umm Ghaylan and her women v 11 

For their coming without their finery with dishevelled hair. 

They saved us at death's very door 

When the avengers of blood came forth. 

She called on Daus and the sandbanks flowed with glory, 

The streams on either side carried it on. 

God requite 'Amr well. He was not weak, 

He did his best for me. 

I drew my sword and made play with its edge 
For whom should I fight but myself (224)? 

1 al-Mughammas was on the road to Ta'if- 

2 Hassan was notorious for his coarseness in lampoons. 

3 Sura 2. 278. 

The Life of Muhammad 



Those of his neighbours who ill treated the apostle in his house were Abu 
Lahab, al-Hakam b. AbG'l-As . . ., T'qba b. Abu Mu'ayt, 'Adiy b. Hamra 
al-Thaqafi, and Ibnu'l-Asda' al-Hudhali. Not one of them beeame a 
Muslim except al-Hakam. I have been told that one of them used to throw 277 
a sheep's uterus at him while he was praying; and one of them used to 
throw it into his cooking-pot when it had been placed ready for him. Thus 
the apostle was forced to retire to a wall when he prayed. 'I'mar b. 'Abdul- 
lah b. 'Urwa b. Zubayr told me on the authority of his father that when 
they threw this objectionable thing at him the apostle took it out on a stick, 
and standing at the door of his house, he would say, 'O Banu 'Abdu Manaf, 
what sort of protection is this?' Then he would throw it into the street. 

Khadlja and Abu Talib died in the same year, and with Khadija's death 
troubles followed fast on each other's heels, for she had been a faithful sup- 
port to him in Islam, and he used to tell her of his troubles. W ith the death 
of Abu Talib he lost a strength and stay in his personal life and a defence 
and protection against his tribe. Abu Talib died some three years before 
he migrated to Medina, and it was then that Quraysh began to treat him in 
an offensive way which they would not have dared to follow in his uncle's 
lifetime. A young lout actually threw dust on his head. 

Hisham on the authority of his father 'Urwa told me that when this 
happened the apostle went into his house with the dust still on his head 
and one of his daughters got up to wash it away, weeping as she did so. 
'Don't weep, my little girl,' he said, 'for God will protect your father.' 
Meanwhile he was saying, 'Quraysh never treated me thus while Abu 
Talib was alive.' 

When Abu Talib fell ill and Quraysh learned of his grave condition they 
reminded one another that now that Hamza and 'Umar had accepted Islam 
and Muhammad's reputation was known among all the Quraysh clans, 
they had better go to Abu Jalib and come to some compromise lest they 
be robbed of their authority altogether. 

A1-' Abbas b. 'Abdullah b. Ma'bad b. 'Abbas from one of his family from 
Ibn 'Abbas told me that 'Utba and Shayba, sons of Rabl'a, and Abu Jahl 278 
and Umayya b. Khalaf and Abu Sufyan with sundry other notables went 
to Abu Talib and said: 'You know your rank with us and now that you are 
at the point of death we are deeply concerned on your account. You know 
the trouble that exists between us and your nephew, so call him and let us 
make an agreement that he will leave us alone and we will leave him alone ; 
let him have his religion and we will have ours.' When he came Abu Talib 
said, 'Nephew, these notables have come to you that they may give you 
something and to take something from you.' 'Yes,' he answered, 'you may 
give me one word by which you can rule the Arabs and subject the Persians 
to you.' 'Yea,* said Abu Jahl, 'and ten words.' He said: 'You must say 
There is no God but Allah and you must repudiate what you worship 


, Q2 The Life of Muhammad 

beside him.' They dapped their hands and said, 'Do you want to make 
all the gods into one God, Muhammad? That would be an extraordinary 
thing ' Then they said one to another, 'This fellow is not going to give 
you anything you want, so go and continue with the religion of your fathers 
until God judge between us.' So saying they departed. 

Abu Talib said, 'Nephew, I don't think that you asked them anything 
extraordinary.' On hearing this the apostle had ^ h e ^uld ^ 
Islam, and he said at once, 'You say it, uncle, and then I shall be able to 
intercede for you on Resurrection Day.' Seeing the apostle s eagerness he 
replied, 'Were it not that I fear that you and your father s sons would be 
abused after my death and that Quraysh would think that I had only said 
it in fear of death, I would say it. I should only say it to give you pleasure. 
As his death was near, al-'Abbas looked at him as he was moving his hps 
and put his ear close to him and said, 'Nephew, by God, my brother has 
spoken the word you gave him to say.' The apostle replied, I did not 
hear it ' 

God revealed concerning the people who came to him with their propo- 
sals: 'Sad. By the renowned Quran, Nay, those who disbelieve are in pride 
and schism' as far as the words 'Does he make the gods one God. I his is 
an extraordinary thing. Their chiefs went off saying: Go and remain true 
to your gods. This is a thing designed. We have not heard of this in he 
las religion," (meaning Christians because they say) Verily God is the 
third of three.' 2 'This is nothing but an invention." Then Abu Jal.b died. 


In consequence of the growing hostility of Quraysh after Abu Jalib's 
death the apostle went to Ttfif to seek help from Thaqif and their defenca 
against his tribe. Also he hoped that they would receive the message which 
God had given him. He went alone. 

Yazld b Ziyad told me from Muhammad b. Ka'b al-Qura?i: When the 
apostle arrived at al-Ta'if he made for a number of ^ Th aqif who were at 
that time leaders and chiefs, namely three brothers: Abdu Yalayl Mas ud, 
and Habib, sons of 'Amr b. 'Umayr b. 'Auf b. 'Uqda b. Gh.yara b. Auf b. 
Thaqif. One of them had a Quraysh wife of the B. Jumali. The apostle 
sat with them and invited them to accept Islam and asked them to help 
him against his opponents at home. One of them swore that he would tear 
up the covering* of the Ka'ba if God had sent him/ The other said 
"Could not God have found someone better than you to send ? I he third 
said "By God, don't let me ever speak to you. If you are an apostle from 
God as you say you are, you are far too important for me to reply to, and if 
you are lying against God it is not right that I should speak to you! So 
the apostle got up and went! despairing of getting any good out of Thaqif. 

' «£ f g £* \ F^this'idiom see Tab. Glcs,. s.v. naraf. 

The Life of Muhammad 193 

I have been told that he said to them, "Seeing that you have acted as you 
have, keep the matter secret," for he was loath that his people should hear 
about it, so that they would be still further emboldened against him (225). 2 8o 
But they did not do so and stirred up their louts and slaves to insult him 
and cry after him until a crowd came together, and compelled him to take 
refuge in an orchard belonging to 'Utba b. Rabi'a and his brother Shayba 
who were in it at the time. The louts who had followed him went back, 
and he made for the shade of a vine and sat there while the two men 
watched him, observing what he had to endure from the local louts. I was 
told that the apostle had met the woman from the B. Jumah and said to 
her, "What has befallen us from your husband's people?" 

'When the apostle reached safety he said, so I am told, "O God, to Thee 
I complain of my weakness, little resource, and lowliness before men. O 
Most Merciful, Thou art the Lord of the weak, and Thou art my Lord. 
To whom wilt Thou confide me ? To one afar who will misuse me ? Or to 
an enemy to whom Thou hast given power over me ? If Thou art not 
angry with me I care not. Thy favour is more wide for me. I take refuge 
in the light of Thy countenance by which the darkness is illumined, and 
the things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest Thy anger 
descend upon me or Thy wrath light upon me. It is for Thee to be satisfied 
until Thou art well pleased. There is no power and no might save in 

'When 'Utba and Shayba saw what happened they were moved with 
compassion and called a young Christian slave of theirs called 'Addas and 
told him to take a bunch of grapes on a platter and give them to him to eat. 
'Addas did so, and when the apostle put his hand in the platter he said "In 
the name of God" before eating. 'Addas looked closely into his face and 
said, "By God, this is not the way the people of this country speak." The 
apostle then asked "Then from what country do you come, O 'Addas? and 
what is your religion?" He replied that he was a Christian and came from 281 
Nineveh. "From the town of the righteous man Jonah son of Mattal," said 
the apostle. "But how did you know about him?" asked 'Addas. "He is 
my brother; he was a prophet and I am a prophet," answered the apostle. 
'Addas bent over him and kissed his head, his hands, and his feet. 

'The two brothers were looking on and one said to the other, "He's 
already corrupted your slave!" And when 'Addas came back they said to 
him: "You rascal, why were you kissing that man's head, hands, and feet?" 
He answered that he was the finest man in the country who had told him 
things that only a prophet could know. They replied, "You rascal, dorr't 
let him seduce you from your religion, for it is better than his." 

'Then the apostle returned from TS'if when he despaired of getting 
anything out of Thaqif. When he reached Nakhla 1 he rose to pray in the 
middle of the night, and a number of jinn whom God has mentioned 

1 There arc two Nakhlas, northern and southern. They arc wadfe about a day's journey 

from Mecca. 

B +080 O 

1 94 The Life of Muhammad 

passed by. They were — so I am told — seven jinn from Naslbin. They 
listened to him and when he had finished his prayer they turned back to 
their people to warn them having believed and responded to what they 
had heard. God has mentioned them in the words "And when We inclined 
to thee certain of the jinn who were listening to the Quran" as far as "and 
He will give you protection from a painful punishment". 1 And again, 
"Say: It has been revealed unto me that a number of the jinn listened." ' 2 


When the apostle returned to Mecca his people opposed him more bitterly 
than ever, apart from the few lower-class people who believed in him. 
1203, 3 (T- ° ne °f tnem said tnat wnen tne apostle le ft al-Ta'if making for Mecca 
a Meccan passed and he asked him if he would take a message for him ; 
and when he said that he would he told him to go to al-Akhnas b. Sharlq 
and say, 'Muhammad says: Will you give me protection so that I may 
convey the message of my Lord ?' When the man delivered his message 
al-Akhnas replied that an ally could not give protection against a member 
of the home tribe. When he told the apostle of this he asked him if he 
would go back and ask Suhayl b. 'Amr for his protection in the same words. 
Suhayl sent word that the B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy do not give protection against 
B„ Ka'b. He then asked the man if he would go back and make the same 
application to al-Mut'im b. 'Adly. The latter said, 'Yes, let him enter,' 
and the man came back and told the apostle. In the morning al-Mut'im 
having girt on his weapons, he and his sons and his nephews went into the 
mosque. When Abu Jahl saw him he asked, 'Are you giving protection or 
following him ?' 'Giving protection, of course,' he said. 'We give protec- 
tion to him whom you protect,' he said. So the prophet came into Mecca 
and dwelt there. One day he went into the sacred mosque when the 
polytheists were at the Ka'ba, and when Abu Jahl saw him he said, 'This is 
your prophet, O B. 'Abdu Manaf.' 'Utba b. RabT'a replied: 'And why 
should you take it amiss if we have a prophet or a king ?' The prophet was 
told of this, or he may have heard it, and he came to them and said, 'O 
'Utba, you were not angry on God's behalf or his apostle's behalf, but on 
your own account. As for you, O Abu Jahl, a great blow of fate will come 
upon you so that you will laugh little and weep much ; and as for you, O 
Leaders of Quraysh, a great blow of fate will come upon you so that you 
will experience what you most abhor and that perforce!') 3 

The apostle offered himself to the tribes of Arabs at the fairs whenever 
282 opportunity came, summoning them to God and telling them that he was 
a prophet who had been sent. He used to ask them to believe in him and 
protect him until God should make clear to them the message with which 
he had charged his prophet. 

One of our friends whom I hold above suspicion told me from Zayd b. 

1 Sura 46. 28-32. 2 Sura 7*. I. 1 Cf - I H - on P- 2 S l o{ W - 

The Life of Muhammad 195 

Aslam from Rabl'a b. 'Ibad al-Dlli or from one whom Abu al-Zinad had 
told (226) and Husayn b. 'Abdullah b. 'Ubaydullah b. 'Abbas told me: 'I 
heard my father telling Rabl'a b. 'Abbad that when he was a youngster 
with his father in Mina when the apostle used to stop by the Arab encamp- 
ments and tell them that he was the apostle of God who ordered them to 
worship Him and not associate anything with Him, and to renounce the 
rival gods which they worshipped, and believe in His apostle and protect 
him until God made plain His purpose in sending him, there followed him 
an artful spruce fellow with two locks of hair, wearing an Aden cloak. 
When the apostle finished his appeal he used to say, "This fellow wishes 
only to get you to strip off al-Lat and al-'Uzza from your necks and your 
allies the jinn of B. Malik b. Uqaysh for the misleading innovation he has 
brought. Don't obey him and take no notice of him." I asked my father 
who the man was who followed him and contradicted what he said, and he 
answered that it was his uncle 'Abdu'l-'Uzza b. 'Abdu'l-Mu^alib known 
as Abu Lahab (227).' 

Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri told me that he went to the tents of Kinda where 
there was a shaykh called Mulayh. He invited them to come to God and 283 
offered himself to them, but they declined. 

Muhammad b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Abdullah b. Husayn told me that he 
went to the tents of Kalb to a clan called B. 'Abdullah with the same 
message, adding, 'O Banu 'Abdullah, God has given your father a noble 
name.' But they would not give heed. 

One of our companions from 'Abdullah b. Ka'b b. Malik told me that 
the apostle went to the B. Hanifa where he met with the worst reception 
of all. 

Al-Zuhri told me that he went to the B. 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a and one of them 
called Bayhara b. Firas (228) said: 'By God, if I could take this man from 
Quraysh I could eat up the Arabs with him.' Then he said, 'If we actually 
give allegiance 1 to you and God gives you victory over your opponents, 
shall we have authority after you ?' He replied, 'Authority is a matter which 
God places where He pleases.' He answered: 'I suppose you want us to 
protect you from the Arabs with our breasts and then if God gives you 
victory 2 someone else will reap the benefit! Thank you, No!' 

Afterwards the B. 'Amir went back to an old shaykh of theirs who was 
unable to attend the fairs. Their custom was to give him all the news on 
their return. This year when he asked for the news they told him that a 
man from Quraysh — one of the B. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib to be precise — pre- 
tended that he was a prophet and invited them to protect him, to stand in 
with him, and to take him back to their country. The old man put his 
hands upon his head and said, 'O Banu 'Amir, could it have been avoided? 
Can the past ever be regained ? No Isma'ili has ever claimed prophethood 
falsely. It was the truth. Where was your common sense?' 

Whenever men came together at the fairs or the apostle heard of anyone 

1 Some MSS. and T- 1202 have 'if we follow you'. 2 J. 'if you win'. 

1 9 6 The Life of Muhammad 

284 of importance coming to Mecca he went to them with his message. 'Asim 
b. 'Umar b. Qatada al-Ansarl — more precisely al-Zafari — on the authority 
of some of his shaykhs told me that they said that Suwayd b. al-Samit, 
brother of the B. 'Amr b. 'Auf, came to Mecca on pilgrimage. -Suwayd's 
tribesmen used to call him al-Kamil because of his toughness, his poetry, 
his honour, and his lineage. He it was who said: 

There 's many a man you call friend you'd be shocked 
If you knew the lies he tells against you in secret. 
While he's with you his words arc like honey; 
Behind your back a sword aimed at the base of the neck. 
What you see of him pleases you, but underneath 
He's a deceitful backbiter cutting through to the marrow. 
His eyes will show you what he's concealing, 
Rancour and hatred arc in his evil look. 

Strengthen me with good deeds: long have you weakened me. 1 
The best friends strengthen without weakening. 

He once had a dispute with a man of the B. Sulaym — one of the B. Zi'b b. 
Malik — over a hundred camels, and they appointed an Arab woman diviner 
arbitrator and she gave judgement in his favour, and he and the Sulami 
went away alone. When they reached the parting of the ways Suwayd 
asked for his property. The man promised to send it, but Suwayd wanted 
to know who would guarantee that the animals would be handed over. As 
he could offer none but himself, Suwayd refused to leave him until he got 
his due. So they came to blows and Suwayd knocked him down, bound 
him closely and took him away to the country of the B. 'Amr; and there he 
had to stay until his tribesmen paid what was owing. It was in reference 
to that, Suwayd composed these lines: 

Don't think, Ibn Zi'b son of Malik, that I 
Am like the man you deceitfully slew in secret. 
When I had been thrown I manfully became your match- 
Thus the resolute man can change his position — 
I locked him under my left arm 
And his cheek remained in the dirt. 

285 When he heard about him the apostle sought him out and invited him 
to Islam. He said, 'Perhaps you've got something like that which I have.' 
'And what is that?' asked the apostle. 'The roll of Luqman,' meaning the 
wisdom of Luqman, he answered. 'Hand it to me,' said the apostle, and 
he handed it over and he said, This discourse is fine, but that which I have 
is better still, a Quran which God has revealed to me which is a guidance 
and a light.' And the apostle recited the Quran to him and invited him to 

1 Lit. 'feather me . . . cut me*. The figure is that of an arrow which is feathered to 
increase its flight, and whittled into shape for the same reason. Feathering can do no harm, 
but whittling may cause the arrow to break: necessary it is, but it must not be overdone. 

The Life of Muhammad 1 97 

Islam; he did not withdraw from it but said, 'This is a fine saying.' Then 
he went off and rejoined his people in Medina and almost at once the 
Khazraj killed him. Some of his family used to say, 'In our opinion he was 
a Muslim when he was killed' ; he was (in fact) killed before the battle of 


Al-Husayn b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Amr b. Sa'd b. Mu'adh on the authority 
of Mahmud b. Labld told me that when Abu'l-Haysar Anas b. Rafi' came 
to Mecca with members of the B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal including Iyas b. Mu'adh 
seeking an alliance with Quraysh against their sister tribe the Khazraj, the 
apostle heard about them. He came and sat with them and asked them if 
they would like to get something more profitable than their present errand. 
When they asked him what that could be he told them that he was God's 
apostle sent to humanity to call on them to serve God and not associate 
any other with Him ; that He had revealed a book to him ; then he told them 
about Islam and read to them some of the Quran. Iyas, who was a young 
man, said, 'By God, people, this is something better than you came for!' 
Thereupon Abu'l-Haysar took a handful of dirt from the valley and threw 
it in his face, saying, 'Shut up! We didn't come here for this.' So Iyas 
became silent. The apostle left them and they went to Medina and the 286 
battle of Bu'ath between Aus and Khazraj took place. 

Within a little while Iyas died. Mahmud said: 'Those of his people 
who were present at his death told me that they heard him continually 
praising and glorifying God until he died. They had no doubt that he 
died a Muslim, he having become acquainted with Islam at that gathering 
when he heard the apostle speak. 


When God wished to display His religion openly and to glorify His prophet 
and to fulfil His promise to him, the time came when he met a number of 
the Helpers at one of the fairs ; and while he was offering himself to the 
Arab tribes as was his wont he met at al-'Aqaba a number of the Khazraj 
whom God intended to benefit. 

'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada told me on the authority of some of the 
shaykhs of his tribe that they said that when the apostle met them he 
learned by inquiry that they were of the Khazraj and allies of the Jews. 
He invited them to sit with him and expounded to them Islam and recited 
the Quran to them. Now God had prepared the way for Islam in that they 
lived side by side with the Jews who were people of the scriptures and 
knowledge, while they themselves were polytheists and idolaters. They 
had often raided them in their district and whenever bad feeling arose the 

1 The battle between Au9 and Khazraj ; v.i. 

198 The Life of Muhammad 

Jews used to say to them, «A prophet will be sent soon. His day U at hand. 
We shall follow him and kill you by his aid as *Ad and Iram perished.' So 
when they heard the apostle's message they said one to another: 'This is 

287 the very prophet of whom the Jews warned us. Don't let them get to him 
before us!' Thereupon they accepted his teaching and became Muslims, 
saying, 'We have left our people, for no tribe is so divided by hatred and 
rancour as they. Perhaps God will unite them through you. So let us go 
to them and invite them to this religion of yours ; and if God unites them 
in it, then no man will be mightier than you.' Thus saying they returned 
to Medina as believers. 

There were six of these men from the Khazraj so I have been told. From 
B. al-Najjar, i.e. Taym Allah of the clan of B. Malik . . . : As'ad b. Zurara 
b. 'Udas b. 'Ubayd b. Tha'laba b. Ghanm b. Malik b. al-Najjar known as 
Abu Umama ; and 'Auf b. al-Harith b. Rifa'a b. Sawad b. Malik . . . known 
as Ibn 'Afra' (229). 

From B. Zurayq b. 'Amir b. Zurayq b. 'Abdu Haritha b. Ghadb b. 
Jusham . . . : Raft' b. Malik b. al-'Ajlan b. 'Amr b. 'Amir b. Zurayq (230). 

From B. Salima b. Sa'd b. 'AH b. Asad b. Sarida b. Tazld b. Jusham . . . 
of the clan of B. Sawad b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salima: Qutba b. 'Amir b. 
Hadida b. 'Amr b. Ghanm b. Sawad (231). 

From B. Har3m b. Ka'b b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salama: 'Uqba b. 'Amir 
b. Nabi b. Zayd b. Haram. 

From B. 'Ubayd b. 'Adiy b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salama: Jabir b. 'Abdul- 
lah b. Ri'ab b. al-Nu'man b. Sinan b. 'Ubayd. 

When they came to Medina they told their people about the apostle and 

288 invited them to accept Islam until it became so well known among them 
that there was no home belonging to the Helpers but Islam and the apostle 
had been mentioned therein. 



In the following year twelve Helpers attended the fair and met at al-'Aqaba 
—this was the first 'Aqaba— where they gave the apostle the 'pledge of 
women'. 1 This was before the duty of making war was laid upon them. 

These men were: From B. al-Najjar: As'ad b. Zurara; 'Auf b. al-Harith 
and Mu'adh his brother, both sons of 'Afr3'. From B. Zurayq b. 'Amir: 
Raff h. Malik and Dhakwan b. 'Abdu Qays b. Khalada b. Mukhlid b. 
Amir b. Zurayq (232). 

From B. 'Auf of the clan of B. Ghanm b. 'Auf b. 'Amr b. 'Auf who were 
the QawSqil: 'Ubada b. al-Samit b. Qays b. Asram b. Fihr b. Tha'laba b. 
Ghanm ; and Abu 'Abdu '1- Rahman who was Yazid b. Tha'laba b. Khazma 
b. Asram b. 'Amr b. 'Ammira of B. Ghusayna of Bally, an ally of theirs 

' i.e. no fighting «u involved. Cf. Sum 60. 1a. 

The Life of Muhammad 199 

From B. Salim b. 'Auf b. 'Amr b. al-Khazraj of the clan of B. al-'Ajlin 
b. Zayd b. Ghanm b. Salim: al-*Abbas b. 'Ubada b. Nadala b. Malik b. 

From B. Salima: 'Uqba b. 'Amir-. 

From B. Sawad: Qu?ba b. 'Amir b. Hadlda. The Aus were represented 289 
by Abu'l-Haytham b. al-Tayyihan whose name was Malik of the clan of 
B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal b. Jusham b. al-Harith b. al Khazraj b. 'Amr b. Malik b. 
al-Aus (234). 

From B. 'Amr b. 'Auf b. Malik b. al-Aus: 'Uwaym b. Sa'ida. 

Yazld b. Abu Habib from Abu Marthad b. 'Abdullah al-Yazanl from 
'Abdu'l- Rahman b. 'Usayla al-Sannaji from 'Ubada b. al-Samit told me: 
'I was present at the first 'Aqaba. There were twelve of us and we pledged 
ourselves to the prophet after the manner of women and that was before 
war was enjoined, the undertaking being that we should associate nothing 
with God ; we should not steal ; we should not commit fornication ; nor kill 
our offspring; we should not slander our neighbours; we should not dis- 
obey him in what was right; if we fulfilled this paradise would be ours; if 
we committed any of those sins it was for God to punish or forgive as 
He pleased.' 

Al-Zuhri from 'A'idhullah b. 'Abdullah al-Khaulanl Abu IdrTs said that 
'Ubada b. al-Samit told him that 4 We gave allegiance to the apostle that 
we would associate nothing with God, not steal, not commit fornication, 
not kill our offspring, not slander our neighbour, not disobey him in what 
was right; if we fulfilled this paradise would be ours; and if we committed 
any of those sins we should be punished in this world and this would serve 
as expiation ; if the sin was concealed until the Day of Resurrection, then 
it would be for God to decide whether to punish or to forgive.' 

When these men left, the apostle sent with them Mus'ab b. 'Umayr b. 
Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf . . . and instructed him to read the Quran to them 290 
and to teach them Islam and to give them instruction about religion. In 
Medina Mus'ab was called 'The Reader' ; he lodged with As'ad b. Zurara. 

'Asim b. 'Umar told me that he used to lead the prayers because Aus 
and Khazraj could not bear to see one of their rivals take the lead. 


Muhammad b. Abu Umama b. Sahl b. Hunayf from his father from 
Abdu'l-Rahman b. Ka'b b. Malik told me that the latter said: 'I was leading 
my father Ka'b when he had lost his sight, and when I brought him out to 
the mosque and he heard the call to prayer he called down blessings on 
Abu Umama As'ad b. Zurara. This went on for some time: whenever he 
heard the adhdn he blessed him and asked God's pardon for him. I thought 
that this was an extraordinary thing to do and decided to ask him why he 
did it. He told me that it was because he was the first man to bring them 

1 Cf. Sura 60. 1 2 where the wording is very similar. 

200 The Life of Muhammad 

together in the low ground of al-Nablt 1 in the quarter of the B. Bayada 
called NaqI'u'l-Khadimat. I asked him how many of them there were, 
and he told me that they numbered forty men.' 

'Ubaydallah b. al-Mughira b. Mu'ayqib and 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. 
Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm told me that As'ad b. Zurara went out with 
Mus'ab b. 'Umayr to the areas of B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal and of B. Zafar. 
Sa'd b. al-Nu'man b. Imru'u'l-Qays b. Zayd b. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal was the 
son of As'ad's aunt. He entered with him one of the gardens of B. Zafar 

291 (235) by a well called Maraq and sat in the garden and some of the men 
who had accepted Islam gathered together there. Now Sa'd b. Mu'adh 
and Usayd b. Hudayr were at that time leaders of their clan, the B. 'Abdu'l- 
Ashhal, and both followed the heathenism of their tribe. When they heard 
about him Sa'd said to Usayd: 'Go to these fellows who have entered our 
quarters to make fools of our weak comrades, drive them out and forbid 
them to enter our quarters. If it were not that As'ad b. Zurara is related to 
me as you know I would save you the trouble. He is my aunt's son and 1 
can do nothing to him.' So Usayd took his lance and went to them; and 
when As'ad saw him he said to Mus'ab, 'This is the chief of his tribe who 
is coming to you, so be true to God with him.' Mus'ab said, 'If he will sit 
down I will talk to him.' He stood over them looking furious and asking 
what they meant by coming to deceive their weaker comrades. 'Leave us if 
you value your lives.' Mus'ab said, 'Won't you sit down and listen. If you 
like what you hear you can accept it, and if you don't like it you can leave 
it alone.' He agreed that that was fair, stuck his lance in the ground, and 
sat down. He explained Islam to him and read him the Quran. After- 
wards they said — according to what has been reported of them — 'By God, 
before he spoke we recognized Islam in his face by its peaceful glow.' He 
said, 'What a wonderful and beautiful discourse this is! What does one do 
if he wants to enter this religion ?' They told him that he must wash and 
purify himself and his garments, then bear witness to the truth and pray. 
He immediately did so and made two prostrations. Then he said, 'There 
is a man behind me who if he follows you every one of his people will 
follow suit. I will send him to you at once. It is Sa'd b. Mu'adh.' Taking 
his lance he went off to Sa'd and his people who were sitting in conclave. 

29.2 When Sa'd saw him coming he said, 'By God, Usayd is coming with a 
different expression from that he had when he left you.' And when he 
came up he asked what had happened. He said, 'I have spoken to the two 
men and I find no harm in them. I forbade them to go on and they said 
to me, We will do what you like ; and I was told that the B. Haritha had 
gone out against As'ad to kill him because they knew that he was the son of 
your aunt so as to make you appear a treacherous protector of your guests.' 
Sa'd enraged got up at once, alarmed at what had been said about the B. 

1 Hazamu'I-Nabit according to al-Suhayli is a mountain one post from Medina. YSqOt 
denies this, because Hazam means 'low ground'. He prefers the reading 'in the low ground 
of the Bam Nabit', &c. 

The Life of Muhammad 201 

Haritha. He took the lance from his hand, saying, 'By God, I see that you 
have been utterly ineffective.' He went out to them and when he saw them 
sitting comfortably he knew that Usayd had intended that he should listen 
to them. He stood over them, looking furious. To As'ad he said, 'Were 
it not for the relationship between us you would not have treated me thus. 
Would you behave in our houses in a way we detest ?' (Now As'ad had 
said to Mus'ab, 'The leader whom his people follow has come to you. If 
he follows you, no two of them will remain behind.') So Mus'ab said to 
him what he had said to Usayd, and Sa'd stuck his lance in the ground and 
sat down. The same thing happened again and he went to his people's 
meeting-place accompanied by Usayd. When they saw him coming they 
said, 'We swear by God Sa'd has returned with a different expression.' 
And when he stopped by them he asked them how they knew what had 
happened to him. They replied, '(You are) our chief, the most active in 
our interests, the best in judgement and the most fortunate in leadership.' 
He said, 'I will not speak to a man or woman among you until you believe 
in God and His apostle.' As a result every man and woman among the 
B. 'Abdu'l-Asbhal joined Islam. 

As'ad and Mus'ab returned to As'ad's house and stayed there calling 
men to Islam until every house of the AnsJr had men and women who were 
Muslims except those of B. Uraayya b. Zayd, and Khatma and Wa'il and 
Waqif; the latter were Aus Allah and" of Aus b. Haritha. The reason was 
that Abu Qays b. al-Aslat whose name was Sayfl was among them. He 
was their poet and leader and they obeyed him and he kept them back from 
Islam. Indeed he continued to do so until the apostle migrated to Medina, 
and Badr, and Uhud, and al-Rhandaq were over. He said concerning 
what he thought of Islam and how men differed about his state: 

Lord of mankind, serious things have happened. 
The difficult and the simple are involved. 
Lord of mankind, if we have erred 
Guide us to the good path. 
Were it not for our Lord we should be Jews 
And the religion of Jews is not convenient. 
Were it not for our Lord we should be Christians 
Along with the monks on Mount Jalil. 1 
But when we were created we were created 
Hanifs ; our religion is from all generations. 
We bring the sacrificial camels walking in fetters 
Covered with cloths but their shoulders bare (236). 


Then Mus'ab returned to Mecca and the Muslim Ansar came to the fair 
there with the pilgrims of their people who were polytheists. They met 

1 i.e. Galilee. 

202 The Life of Muhammad 

294 the apostle at al-'Aqaba in the middle of the days of Tashrlq, 1 when God 
intended to honour them and to help His apostle and to strengthen Islam 
and to humiliate heathenism and its devotees. 

Ma'bad b. Ka'b b. Malik b. Abu Ka'b b. al-Qayn, brother of the B. 
Salima, told me that his brother 'Abdullah b. Ka'b who was one of the 
most learned of the Ansar told him that his father Ka'b who was one of 
those who had been present at al-'Aqaba and did homage to the apostle, 
informed him saying: 'We went out with the polytheist pilgrims of our 
people having prayed and learned the customs of the pilgrimage. With us 
was al-Bara' b. Ma'rur our chief and senior. When we had started our 
journey from Medina al-Bara' said, "I have come to a conclusion and I 
don't know whether you will agree with me or not. I think that I will not 
turn my back on this building" (meaning the Ka'ba), "and that I shall pray 
towards it." We replied that so far as we knew our prophet prayed towards 
Syria 2 and we did not wish to act differently. He said, "I am going to pray 
towards the Ka'ba." We said, "But we will not." When the time for 
prayer came we prayed towards Syria and he prayed towards the Ka'ba 
until we came to Mecca. We blamed him for what he was doing, but he 
refused to change. When we came to Mecca he said to me, "Nephew, let 
us go to the apostle and ask him about what I did on our journey. For I 
feel some misgivings since 1 have seen your opposition." So we went to ask 
the apostle. We did not- know him and we had never seen him before. We 
met a man of Mecca and we asked him about the apostle ; he asked if we 
knew him and we said that we did not. Then do you know his uncle, al- 
'Abbas b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib ? We said that we did because he was always 
coming to us as a merchant. He said, "When you enter the mosque he is 
the man sitting beside al-'Abbas." So we went into the mosque and there 
was al-'Abbas sitting with the apostle beside him ; we saluted them and sat 
down. The apostle asked al-'Abbas if he knew us, and he said that he did 
29s and named us. I shall never forget the apostle's words when Ka'b's name 
was mentioned, "The poet?" Al-Bara' said, "O prophet of God, I came on 
this journey God having guided me to Islam and I felt that I could not 
turn my back on this building, so I prayed towards it ; but when my com- 
panions opposed me I felt some misgivings. What is your opinion, 0 
apostle of God ?" He replied, "You would have had a qibla if you had kept 
to it," so al-Bara' returned to the apostle's qibla and prayed with us towards 
Syria. 3 But his people assert that he prayed towards the Ka'ba until the day of 
his death ; but this was not so. We know more about that than they (237)." ' 

1 The days of the Tashriq are the three days following the day of sacrifice, i.e. nth, 12th, 
and 1 3th of Dhu'l-rjijja. Various explanations are Riven by the lexicographers : (a) because 
the victims were not sacrificed until the sun rose; (6) because the flesh of the victims was 
cut into strips and left to dry in the sun on those days ; and (c) because in pagan times they 
used to say at that time Ashriq Thabir kayma nughir 'Show the sun, O Thabir, that we may 
pass on quickly'. See further E.I. and literature cited there. 

2 i.e. Jerusalem. 

i The apostle's reply to al-Bara* could be taken in either sense, and considerable doubt is 
reflected in the commentaries and traditions on the question involved. 

The Life of Muhammad 203 

Ma'bad b. Ka'b told me that his brother 'Abdullah told him that his 
father Ka'b b. Malik said: 'Then we went to the hajj and agreed to meet 
the apostle at al-'Aqaba in the middle of the days of the tashriq. When we 
had completed the hajj and the night came in which we had agreed to meet 
the apostle there was with us 'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. Haram Abu Jabir, one 
of our chiefs and nobles whom we had taken with us. We had concealed 
our business from those of our people who were polytheists. We said to 
him, "You are one of our chiefs and nobles and we want to wean you 
from your present state lest you become fuel for the fire in the future." 
Then we invited him to accept Islam and told him about our meeting 
with the apostle at al-'Aqaba. Thereupon he accepted Islam and came to 
al-'Aqaba with us, and became a naqib (leader). 1 

'We slept that night among our people in the caravan until when a third 
of the night had passed we went stealing softly like sandgrouse to our 296 
appointment with the apostle as far as the gully by al-'Aqaba. There were 
seventy-three men with two of our women: Nusayba d. of Ka'b Umm 
'Umara, one of the women of B. Mazin b. al-Najjar, and Asm5' d. of 'Amr 
b. 'Adly b. N5bl, one of the women of B. Salima who was known as Umm 
Man!'. We gathered together in the gully waiting for the apostle until he 
came with his uncle al-'Abbas who was at that time a polytheist ; albeit 
he wanted to be present at his nephew's business and see that he had 
a firm guarantee. When he sat down he was the first to speak and said : 
"O people of al-Khazraj (the Arabs used the term to cover both Khazraj 
and Aus). You know what position Muhammad holds among us. We 
have protected him from our own people who think as we do about 
him. He lives in honour and safety among his people, but he will turn 
to you and join you. If you think that you can be faithful to what you 
have promised him and protect him from his opponents, then assume 
the burden you have undertaken. But if you think that you will betray 
and abandon him after he has gone out with you, then leave him now. 
For he is safe where he is." We replied, "We have heard what you say. 
You speak, O apostle, and choose for yourself and for your Lord what 
you wish." 

'The apostle spoke and recited the Quran and invited men to God and 
commended Islam and then said: "I invite your allegiance on the basis 
that you protect me as you would your women and children." Al-Bara' 
took his hand and said "By Him Who sent you with the truth we will 
protect you as we protect our women. Wcgive our allegiance and we are 
men of war possessing arms which have been passed on from father to son." 
While al-Bara' was speaking Abu'l-Haytham b. al-Tayyihan interrupted 
him and said, "O apostle, we have ties with other men (he meant the Jews) 
and if we sever them perhaps when we have done that and God will have 
given you victory, you will return to your people and leave us?" The 297 
apostle smiled and said: "Nay, blood is blood and blood not to be paid for 

1 The term has become technical. 

204 The Life of Muhammad 

is blood not to be paid for. 1 I am of you and you arc of me. I will war 
against them that war against you and be at peace with those at peace 
with you (238)." 

Ka'b continued: 'The apostle said, "Bring out to me twelve leaders that 
they may take charge of their people's affairs." They produced nine from 
al-Khazraj and three from al-Aus.' 


According to what Ziyad b. 'Abdullah al-Bakka'i told us from Muhammad 
b. Ishaq al-Muttalibi (they were): 

From al-Khazraj : Abu Umama As'ad b. Zurara . . . b. al-Najjar who was 
Taym Allah b. Tha'laba b. 'Amr b. al-Khazraj ; Sa'd b. al-Rabi' b. *Amr b. 
Abu Zuhayr b. Malik b. ImruVl-Qays b. Malik b. Tha'laba b. Ka'b b. al- 
Khazraj b. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj ; 'Abdullah b. Rawaha b. Tha'laba of the 
same line; Rafi* b. Malik b. al-'Ajlan b. 'Amr . . .; al-Bara* b. Ma'rur b. 
Sakhr b. Khansa* b. Sinan b. 'Ubayd b. 'Adiy b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salama 
b. Sa'd b. 'All b. Asad b. Sarida b. Tazid b. Jusham b. al-Khazraj ; 'Abdul- 
lah b. 'Amr b. Haram b. Tha'laba b. Haram b. Ka'b b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. 

298 Salama . . . ; 'Ubada b. al-Samit b. Qays b. Asram . . . (239). Sa'd b. 'Ubada 
b. Dulaym b. Haritha b. Abu Hazima b. Tha'laba b. Tarif b. al-Khazraj b. 
Sa'ida b. Ka'b b. al-Khazraj ; al-Mundhir b. 'Amr b. Khunays b. Haritha 
b. Laudhan b. 'Abdu Wudd b. Zayd b. Tha'laba b. al-Khazraj of the same 
line (240). 

From al-Aus: Usayd b. Hudayr b. Simak b. 'Atik b. Rafi' b. Imru'u'l- 
Qays b. Zayd b. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal b. Jusham b. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj b. 
*Amr b. Malik b. al-Aus; Sa'd b. Khaythama b. al-Harith b. Malik b. Ka'b 
b. al-Nahhat b. Ka'b b. Haritha b. Ghanm b. al-Salm b. ImruVl-Qays b. 
Malik b. al-Aus; Rifa'a b. 'Abdu 1-Mundhir b. Zubayr b. Zayd b. Umayya 
b. Zayd b. Malik b. 'Auf b. 'Amr b. 'Auf b. Malik b. al-Aus (241). 

299 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr told me that the apostle said to the Leaders : 'You 
are the sureties for your people just as the disciples of Jesus, Son of Mary, 
were responsible to him, while I am responsible for my people, i.e. the 
Muslims.' They agreed. 

'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada told me that when the people came together 
to plight their faith to the apostle, al-'Abbas b. 'Ubada b. Nadla al-Ansari, 
brother of B. Salim b. 'Auf, said, 4 0 men of Khazraj, do you realize to 
what you are committing yourselves in pledging your support to this man? 
It is to war against all and sundry. 2 If you think that if you lose your 
property and your nobles are killed you will give him up, then do so now, 
for it would bring you shame in this world and the next (if you did so 

1 i.e. He would treat blood revenge and its obligation as common to both parties. See 
LH.'s note. 1 Lit. "red and black men'. 

The Life of Muhammad 205 

later) ; but if you think that you will be loyal to your undertaking if you 
lose your property and your nobles are killed, then take him, for by God it 
will profit you in this world and the next.' They said that they would 
accept the apostle on these conditions. But they asked what they would 
get in return for their loyalty, and the apostle promised them paradise. 
They said, 'Stretch forth your hand,' and when he did so they pledged 
their word. 'Asim added that al-'Abbas said that only to bind the obliga- 300 
tion more securely on them. 'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr said that he said it 
merely to keep the people back that night, hoping that 'Abdullah b. Ubayy 
b. Salul would come and so give more weight to his people's support. But 
God knows best which is right (242). 

The B. al-Najjar allege that As'ad b. Zurara was the first to strike his 
hand in fealty ; the B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal say that he was not, for Abu'l- 
Haytham was the first. Ma'bad b. Ka'b told me in his tradition from his 
brother 'Abdullah b. Ka'b from his father Ka'b b. Malik that al-Bara' was 
the first and the people followed him. When we had all pledged ourselves 
Satan shouted from the top of al-'Aqaba in the most penetrating voice I 
have ever heard, 'O people of the stations of Mina, do you want this repro- 
bate 1 and the apostates 2 who are with him? They have come together to 
make war on you!' The apostle said, 'This is the Izb 3 of the hill. This is 
the son of Azyab. Do you hear, O enemy of God, I swear I will make an 
end of you! (243).' 

The apostle then told them to disperse and go back to their caravan, and 
al-'Abbas b. 'Ubada said, 'By God, if you wish it we will fall on the people 
of Mina tomorrow with our swords.' He replied, 'We have not been com- 
manded to do that ; but go back to your caravan.' So we went back to our 
beds and slept until the morrow. 

With the morning the leaders of Quraysh came to our encampment say- 
ing that they had heard that we had come to invite Muhammad to leave 
them and had pledged ourselves to support him in war against them, and 
that there was no Arab tribe that they would fight more reluctantly than us. 
Thereupon the polytheists of our tribe swore that nothing of the kind had 
happened and they knew nothing of it. And here they were speaking the 301 
truth, for they were in ignorance of what had happened. We looked at one 
another. Then the people got up, among them al-Harith b. Hisham b. al- 
Mughira al-Makhzumi who was wearing a pair of new sandals. I spoke a 
word to him as though I wanted to associate the people with what they had 
said, 'O Abu Jabir, seeing that you arc one of our chiefs, can't you get hold 
of a pair of sandals such as this young Qurayshitc has? Al-Harith heard 
me and took them off his feet and threw them at me saying, 'By God you 
can have them!' Abu Jabir said, 'Gently now, you have angered the 

1 Mudhammam is probably an offensive counterpart to the name Muhammad. 
* Subdt, the plural of Sabi*. the name given to those who had given up their own religion 
to take another. Hardly an apostate (murtadd). 

1 The word is said to mean 'small and contemptible'. 

206 The Life of Muhammad 

young man, so give him hark his sandals.' 'Ry God, T will not,' I said ; 'it is 
a good omen and if it proves to be true I shall plunder him.' 

'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr told me that they came to 'Abdullah b. Ubayy 
and said to him much the same as Ka'b had said and he replied, 'This is a 
serious matter; my people arc not in the habit of deciding a question with- 
out consulting me in this way and I do not know that it has happened.' 
Thereupon they left him. 

When the people had left Mina they investigated the report closely and 
found that it was true. So they went in pursuit of (our) people and over- 
took Sa'd b. 'Ubada in Adhakhir and also al-Mundhir b. 'Amr, brother of 
B. Sa'ida, both of them being 'leaders'. The latter got away, but they 
caught Sa'd and tied his hands to his neck with the thongs of the girth 
and brought him back to Mecca beating him on the way and dragging him 
by the hair, for he was a very hairy man. Sa'd said, 'As they held me, a 
number of Quraysh came up, among them a tall, white, handsome man of 
pleasant appearance and I thought that if there was any decency among 
them this man would show it. But when he came up he delivered me a 
violent blow in the face and after that I despaired of fair treatment. As 
they were dragging me along, a man took pity on me and said, "You poor 
devil, haven't you any right to protection from one of the Quraysh?" 
"Yes," I said, "I have. I used to guarantee the safety of the merchants of 
Jubayr b. Mut'im b. 'Adiy b. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf and protect them 
from those who might have wronged them in my country; also al-H§rith 
b. Harb b. Umayya b. 'Abdu Shams b. 'Abdu Manaf." "Very well, then, 
call out the names of these two men and say what tie there is between you," 
he said. This I did and that man went to them and found them in the 
mosque beside the Ka'ba and told them of me and that I was calling for 
them and mentioning my claim on them. When they heard who I was they 
acknowledged the truth of my claim and came and delivered me.' So Sa'd 
went off. The name of the man who hit him was Suhayl b. 'Amr, brother 
of B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy (244). 

The first poetry about the Migration was two verses composed by Dirar 
b. al-Khattab b. Mirdas, brother of B. Muharib b. Fihr: 

I overtook Sa'd and took him by force. 

It would have been better if I had caught Mundhir. 

If I had got him his blood would not have to be paid for. 

He deserves to be humiliated and left unavenged (244a). 

You were not equal to Sa'd and the man Mundhir 
When the people's camels were thin. 
But for Abu Wahb (my) verses would have passed over 
The top of al-Barqa M swooping down swiftly 2 

1 Yaqut says that this is a place in the desert. He does not say where. 

1 The interpretation of this difficult line depends on the identity of Abu Wthb. The man 

The Life of Muhammad 

Do you boast of wearing cotton 
When the Nabataeans wear dyed' wrappers? 
Be not like a sleeper who dreams that 
He is in a town of Caesar or Chosroes. 
Don't be like a bereaved mother who 
Would not have lost her child had she been wise ; 
Nor like the sheep which with her forelegs 
Digs the grave she does not desire ; 
Nor like the barking dog that sticks out his neck 
Not fearing the arrow of the unseen archer. 
He who directs poetry's shafts at us 
Is like one who sends dates to Khaybar. 2 


When they came to Medina they openly professed Islam there. Now some 
of the shaykhs still kept to their old idolatry, among whom was 'Amr b. 
al-Jamuh b. Yazid b. Haram b. Ka'b b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salama whose 
son, Mu'adh, had been present at al-'Aqaba and had done homage to the 
apostle there. 'Amr was one of the tribal nobles and leaders and had set 
up in his house a wooden idol called Manat 3 as the nobles used to do, 
making it a god to reverence and keeping it clean. W hen the young men of 
the B. Salama Mu'adh b. Jabal and his own son Mu'adh adopted Islam 
with the other men who had been at al-'Aqaba they used to creep in at 
night to this idol of 'Amr's and carry it away and throw it on its face into 
a cesspit. When the morning came 'Amr cried, 'Woe to you! Who has 
been at our gods this night ?' Then he went in search of the idol and when 
he found it he washed it and cleaned it and perfumed it saying, 'By God, 
if I knew who had done this I would treat him shamefully!' When night 
came and he was fast asleep they did the same again and he restored the 
idol in the morning. This happened several times until one day he took 
the idol from the place where they had thrown it, purified it as before, and 

of this name mentioned by I.I. (p. 123) was the father of the prophet's maternal uncle; if it 
is he that is referred to, clearly the meaning must be that the presence of this man in Mecca 
prevented Hassan from launching his invective against Quraysh, and the verb must mean 
swooping or rushing. However, al-Barquqi in his commentary on the Ditvdn tentatively 
suggests that it was Abu Wahb who brought Dirar's lines to Medina: had he not done so 
they would have fallen impotently on the way. This interpretation requires us to understand 
hated in the sense of falling, and hussard as 'wearied* instead of 'stripped for action' and so 
capable of rapid movement. The last line in I.I.'s text follows this line and this rearrange- 
ment of the lines would naturally suggest that the qasd'id came from the same source; but 
as I.I. reported the satire such a conclusion is unnecessary. See further Dr. Arafat's thesis 
on the poetry of Hassan. 1 Or 'bleached'. 

* i.e. Sends coals to Newcastle. This line follows line 2 in the Ditcdn. 

J Suhayli explains that the idol was so called because blood was shed (muniyat) by it as 
an offering and that is why idols are said to be bloody. But the explanation of the namejs 
to be found outside the Arabic language in the goddess of Fate. See S. H. Langdon, Semitic 
Mythology, 1931, pp. 19 ff. 




The Life of Muhammad 

304 fastened his sword to it, saying, 'By God, I don't know who has done this ; 
but if you are any good at all defend yourself since you have this sword.' 
At night when he was asleep they came again and took the sword from its 
neck and hung a dead dog to it by a cord and then threw it into a cesspit. 
In the morning 'Amr came and could not find it where it normally was; 
ultimately he found it face downwards in that pit tied to a dead dog. When 
he saw it and perceived what had happened and the Muslims of his clan 
spoke to him he accepted Islam by the mercy of God and became a good 
Muslim. He wrote some verses when he had come to a knowledge of God 
in which he mentioned the image and its impotence and thanked God for 
having delivered him from the blindness and error in which he had lived 

By Allah, if you had been a god you would not have been 

Tied to a dead dog in a cesspit. 

Phew! that we ever treated you as a god, but now 

We have found you out and left our wicked folly. 

Praise be to God most High, the Gracious, 

The Bountiful, the Provider, the Judge of all religions 

Who has delivered me in time to save me 

From being kept in the darkness of the grave. 


When God gave permission to his apostle to fight, the second 'Aqaba con- 
tained conditions involving war which were not in the first act of fealty. 
Now they bound themselves to war against all and sundry for God and his 
apostle, while he promised them for faithful service thus the reward of 

'Ubada b. al-Walld b. 'Ubada b. al-Samit from his father from his 
grandfather 'Ubada b. al-Samit who was one of the Leaders told me, 'We 
pledged ourselves to war in complete obedience to the apostle in weal and 

305 woe, in ease and hardship and evil circumstances; that we would not 
wrong anyone; that we would speak the truth at all times; and that in 
God's service we would fear the censure of none.' 'Ubada was one of the 
twelve who gave his word at the first 'Aqaba. 


There were seventy-three men and two women of Aus and Khazraj. 1 
Of Aus there were : 

Usayd b. Hudayr ... a leader who was not at Badr. Abu'l-Haytham b. 
Tayyahan who was at Badr. Salma b. Salama b. Waqsh b. Zughba b. 
Zu'ura' b. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal who was at Badr (245). Total 3. 

1 The genealogies already given have been omitted together with repetitions. 

From B. Haritha b. al-IIarith . . . Zuhayr b. RSJl* b. 'Adiy b. Zayd b. 
Jusham b. Haritha, and Abu Burda b. Niyar whose name' was Hani' b. 
Niyar b. 'Amr b. 'Ubayd b. Kilab b. Duhman b. Ghanm b. Dhubyan b. 
Humaym b. Kamil b. Dhuhl b. Haniy b. Bally b. 'Amr b. al-Haf b. Quda'a, 
one of their allies. He was at Badr. Nuhayr b. al-Haytham of B. Nabi b. 
Majda'a b. Haritha. Total 3. 

Of B. 'Amr b. 'Auf b. Malik: Sa'd b. Khaythama a 'leader' who was 306 
present at Badr and was killed there as a martyr beside the apostle (246). 
Rifa'a b. 'Abdu'l-Mundhir, a leader present at Badr. 'Abdullah b. Jubayr 
b. al-Nu'man b. Umayya b. al-Burak, the name of al-Burak being ImruVl- 
Qays b. Tha'laba b. 'Amr who was present at Badr and was killed as a 
martyr at Uhud commanding the archers for the apostle (247). And Ma'an 
b. 'Adiy b. al-Jad b. al-'Ajlan b. Haritha b. Dubay'a, a client of theirs from 
Baliy present at Badr, Uhud, and al-Khandaq and all the apostle's battles. 
He was killed in the battle of al-Yamama as a martyr in the caliphate of 
Abu Bakr. And 'Uwaym b. Sa'ida who was present at Badr, Uhud, and 
al-Khandaq. Total 5. 

The total for all clans of Aus was 11. 

Of al-Khazraj there were: 

Of B. al-Najjar who was Taymullah b. Tha'laba b. 'Amr: Abu Ayyub 
Khalid b. Zayd b. Kulayb b. Tha'laba b. 'Abd b. 'Auf b. Ghanm b. Malik 
b. al-Najjar. He was present at all the apostle's battles and died in Byzan- 
tine territory as a martyr in the time of Mu'awiya. Mu'adh b. al-Harith 
b. Rifa'a b. Sawad b. Malik b. Ghanm. Present at all battles. He was the 
son of 'Afra' and his brother was 'Auf b. al-Harith who was killed at Badr 
as a martyr. Mu'awwidh his brother shared the same glory. It was he 
who killed Abu Jahl b. Hisham b. al-Mughlra; he too was 'Afra's son 307 
(248). And 'Umara b. Hazm b. Zayd b. Laudhan b. 'Amr b. 'Abdu 
'Auf b. Ghanm. He was present at all battles and died a martyr in the 
battle of al-Yamama in the caliphate of Abu Bakr. As'ad b. Zurara, a 
leader. He died before Badr when the apostle's mosque was being built. 
Total 6. 

Of B. 'Amr b. Mabdhul who was 'Amir b. Malik: Sahl b. 'Atik b. 
Nu'man b. 'Amr b. 'Atik b. 'Amr. Was at Badr. Total 1. 

Of B. 'Amr b. Malik b. al-Najjar who are the B. Hudayla (249). Aus b. 
Thabit b. al-Mundhir b. Haram b. 'Amr b. Zayd Manat b. 'Adiy b. 'Amr 
b. Malik, present at Badr; Abu Talha Zayd b. Sahl b. al-Aswad b. Haram 
b. 'Amr b. Zayd Manat . . . present at Badr. Total 2. 

Of B. Mazin b. al-Najjar: Qays b. Abu Sa'sa'a whose name was 'Amr b. 
Zayd b. 'Auf b. Mabdhul b. 'Amr b. Ghanm b. Mazin. Present at Badr 
where the apostle put him in command of the rearguard. 'Amr b. Ghazlya 
b. 'Amr b. Tha'laba b. Khansa' b. Mabdhul . . . Total 2. 

The total for B. al-Najjar was 1 1 (250). 308 

Of B. al-Harith b. Khazraj: Sa'd b. al-Rabi', a leader. Was at Badr and 
died a martyr at Uhud. Kharija b. Zayd b. Abu Zuhayr b. Malik b. 

B 4080 P 

2io The Life of Muhammad 

Imru'ul-Qays b. Malik al-Agharr b. Tha'laba b. Ka'b. Present at Badr 
and killed at Uhud as a martyr. 'Abdullah b. Rawaha, a leader, present at 
all the apostle's battles except the occupation of Mecca and was killed at 
Muta as a martyr as one of the apostle's commanders. Bashlr b. Sa'd b. 
Tha'laba b. Khalas b. Zayd b. Malik . . . , the father of al-Nu'man was 
present at Badr. 'Abdullah b. Zayd b. Tha'laba b. 'Abdullah b. Zayd 
Manat b. al-Harith. Present at Badr. He it was who was shown how to 
call to prayer and was ordered by the apostle to perform it. Khallad b. 
Suwayd b. Tha'laba b. 'Amr b. Haritha b. Imru'ul-Qays b. Malik. Present 
at Badr, Uhud, and al-Khandaq and was killed as a martyr in fighting B. 
Qurayza when a millstone was thrown from one of their castles and crushed 
his skull. The apostle said — so they say — that he will have the reward of 
two martyrs. 'Uqba b. 'Amr b. Tha'laba b. Usayra b. 'Usayra b. Jadara 
b. 'Auf who is Abu Mas'ud, the youngest of those at al-'Aqaba. Died in 
the time of Mu'awiya. Was not at Badr. Total 7. 

Of B. Bayada b.'Amir b. Zurayq b. 'Abdu Haritha: Ziyad b. Labid b. 
Tha'laba b. Sinan b. 'Amir b. 'Adiy b. Umayya b. Bayada. Present at 
Badr. Farwa b. 'Amr b. Wadhafa b. 'Ubayd b. 'Amir b. Bayada. Present 
at Badr (251). Khalid b. Qays b. Malik b. al-'Ajlan b. 'Amir. At Badr. 
Total 3. 

309 Of B. Zurayq b. 'Amir b. Zurayq b. 'Abdu Haritha b. Malik b. Ghadb b. 
Jusham b. al-Khazraj : Ran' b. al-'Ajlan, a leader. Dhakwan b. 'Abdu Qays 
b. Khalda b. Mukhallad b. 'Amir. He went out to the apostle and stayed 
with him in Mecca after he had migrated from Medina; thus he got the 
name of Ansari Muhajiri. He was at Badr and was killed as a martyr at 
Uhud. 'Abbad b. Qays b. 'Amir b. Khalda, &c. Was at Badr. Al-Harith 
b.Qays b. Khalid b. Mukhallad b. 'Amir, who was Abu Khalid. Present 
at Badr. Total 4. 

Of B. Salama b. Sa'd b. 'AH b. Asad b. Sarida b. Tazid . . . Al-Bara' b. 
Ma'riir b. Sakhr ... a leader who, the B. Salama allege, was the first to 
strike his hand on the apostle's when the conditions of the second 'Aqaba 
were agreed to. He died before the apostle came to Medina. His son 
Bishr was at Badr, Uhud, and al-Khandaq and he died in Khaybar of 
eating with the apostle the mutton that was poisoned. He it was to whom 
the apostle referred when he asked B. Salama who their chief was and they 
replied, ' Al-Judd b. Qays in spite of his meanness!' He said, 'What disease 
is worse than meanness? The chief of B. Salama is the white curly haired 
Bishr b. al-Bara' b. Ma'rur." Sinan b. Sayfi b. Sakhr b. Khansa' b. Sinan 
b. 'Ubayd who was at Badr and died a martyr at al-Khandaq. Al-Tufayl 
b. Nu'man b. Khansa' b. Sinan b. 'Ubayd with the same record. Ma'qil 
b. al-Mundhir b. Sarh b. Khunas b. Sinan b. 'Ubayd who was at Badr, 
together with his brother Yazid. Mas'ud b. Yazid b. Subay' b. KhansS' b. 
Sinan b. 'Ubayd. Al-Dahhak b. Haritha b. Zayd b. Tha'laba b. 'Ubayd 

310 who was present at Badr. Yaitfd b. Haram b. Subay' b. Khansa b. Sinan 
b. 'Ubayd. Jubbar b. Sakhr b. Umayya b. Khansa' b. Sinan b. 'Ubayd 

The Life of M uhammad 2 1 1 

present at Badr (252). Al-Tufayl b. Malik b. Khansa' b. Sinan b. 'Ubayd 
who was present at Badr.' Total 11. 

Of B. Sawad b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salama of the clan of Band Ka'b b. 
Sawad: Ka'b b. Malik b. Abu Ka'b b. al-Qayn b. Ka'b. Total 1. 

Of B. Ghanm b. Sawad b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salama. Salim b. 'Amr b. 
J4adida b. 'Amr b. Ghanm who was at Badr. Qutba b. 'Amir b. Hadida b. 
'Amr b. Ghanm who was at Badr. Yazid his brother known as Abu'l- 
Mundhir; was at Badr. Ka'b b. 'Amr b. 'Abbad b. 'Amr b. Ghanm known 
as Abu'l-Yasar. At Badr. Sayfi b. Sawad b. 'Abbad b. 'Amr b. Ghanm 
(253). Total 5 . 

Of B. Nabi b. 'Amr b. Sawad b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salama: Tha'laba b. 
Ghanama b. 'Adiy b. Nabi was at Badr and was killed as a martyr at al- 
Khandaq. 'Amr b. Ghanama b. 'Adiy b. Nabi. 'Abs b. 'Amir b. 'Adiy was 
at Badr. 'Abdullah b. Unays an ally from Quda'a. Khalid b. 'Amr b. 
'Adiy. Total 5. 

Of B. Haram b. Ka'b b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salama: 'Abdullah b. 'Amr 
who was a leader and was at Badr and was killed as a martyr at l.'hud. 
Jabir his son. Mu'adh b. 'Amr b. al-Jamuh who was at Badr. Thahit b. 
al-Jidh'(al-Jidh' being Tha'laba b. Zayd b. al-Harith b. Haram) was at 
Badr and was killed as a martyr at al-Ta'if. 'Umayr b. al-Harith b. Tha'laba 3> I 
b. al-Harith b. Haram who was at Badr (254). Khadij b. Salama b. Aus 
b. 'Amr b. al-Fur3fir an ally from Baliv* Mu'adh b. Jabal b. 'Amr b. Aus 
b. 'A'idh b. Ka'b b. 'Amr b. Adi 2 b. Sa'd b. 'All b. Asad. It is said 'Asad b. 
Sarida b. Tazid b. Jusham b. al-Khazraj, who lived with the B. Salama; he 
was present at all the battles and died in 'Amwas 3 in the year of the Syrian 
plague during the caliphate of 'Umar. The B. Salama claimed him for the 
reason that he was the brother of Sahl b. Muhammad b. al-Judd b. Qays b. 
Sakhr b. Khansa' b. Sinan b. 'Ubayd . . . b. Salama through his mother 
(255). Total 7. 

Of B. ' Auf b. al-Kha/raj then of the B. Salim b. 'Auf b. 'Amr b. 'Auf : 
'Ubada b. al-Samit, a leader who was at all the battles . . . (256). A1-' Abbas 
b. 'Ubada b. Nadla . . ., one of those who joined the apostle in Mecca, 
lived there with him, and was called an Ansari Muhajiri. He was killed at 
Uhud as a martyr. Abu 'Abdu'l-Rahman Yazid b. Tha'laba b. Khazama 
b. Asram b. 'Amr b. 'Ammara, an ally from the B. Ghusayna of Bally. 
'Amr b. al-Harith b. Labda b. 'Amr b. Tha'laba. They were the Qawaqil. 
Total 4. 

Of B. Salim b. Ghanm b. 'Auf; known as the B. al-Hubla (257): Rifa'a 
b. 'Amr b. Zayd b. 'Amr b. Tha'laba b. Malik b. Salim b. Ghanm known 3*2 
as Abu'l-Walid. Was at Badr (2*58). 'Uqba b. Wahb b. Kalda b. al-Ja'd b. 
Hilal b. al-Harith b. 'Amr b. 'Adiy b. Jusham b. 'Auf b. Buhtha b. 'Abdul- 
lah b. Ghatafan b. Sa'd b. Qays b. 'Avian, an ally, present at Badr. He had 
the title Ansari Muhajiri for the reason given above. Total 2. 

1 Some authorities assert that this is the same person as the one just mentioned above. 

2 Some read Udhan. See Suhayli in loc. 3 i.e. the biblical Emmaus. 

212 The Life of Muhammad 

Of the B. Sa'ida b. Ka*b: Sa'd b. 'Uhada a leader. Al-Mundhir b. 'Amr, 
a leader, present at Badr and Uhud and killed at Bi'r Ma'iina commanding 
for the apostle. It was said of him 'He hastened to death' (259). Total 2. 

The total number of those present at the second 'Aqaba from the Aus 
and Khazraj was seventy-three men and two women who they allege 
pledged their obedience also. The apostle used not to strike hands with 
women; he merely stated the conditions, and if they accepted them he 
would say, 'Go, I have made a covenant with you.' 

(Of these two women) Nusayba was of B. Mazin b. al-Najjar. She was 
d. of Ka'b b. 'Amr b. 'Auf b. Mabdhul b. 'Amr b. Ghanm b. Mazin, 
mother of 'Umara. She and her sister went to war with the apostle. Her 
husband was Zayd b. 'Asim b. Ka'b, and her two sons were Habib and 
'Abdullah. Musaylima the liar, the Hanifi chief of the Yamama, got hold 
of Habib and began to say to him, 'Do you testify that Muhammad is the 
apostle of God ?' And when he said that he did, he went on, 'And do you 

313 testify that I am the apostle of God?' he answered, 'I do not hear.' So he 
began to cut him to pieces member by member until he died. He tried 
putting the same questions to him again and again, but he could get no 
different answers. Nusayba went to al-Yamama with the Muslims and 
took part in the war in person until God slew Musaylima, when she 
returned having suffered twelve wounds from spear or sword. It was 
Muhammad b. Yahyi b. HabbSn who told me this story from 'Abdullah 
b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Abu Sa'sa'a. 

The other woman was of B. Salama, Umm Man!', named Asma' d. 
*Amr b. 'Adiy b. Nabi b. 'Amr b. Sawad b. Ghanm b. Ka'b b. Salama. 


The apostle had not been given permission to fight or allowed to shed 
blood before the second 'Aqaba. He had simply been ordered to call men 
to God and to endure insult and forgive the ignorant. The Quraysh had 
persecuted his followers, seducing some from their religion, and exiling 
others from their country. They had to choose whether to give up their 
religion, be maltreated at home, or to flee the country, some to Abyssinia, 
others to Medina. 

When Quraysh became insolent towards God and rejected His gracious 
purpose, accused His prophet of lying, and ill treated and exiled those who 
served Him and proclaimed His unity, believed in His prophet, and held 
fast to His religion, He gave permission to His apostle to fight and to 
protect himself against those who wronged them and treated them badly. 

The first verse which was sent down on this subject from what I have 
heard from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr and other learned persons was: 'Permis- 

314 sion is given to those who fight because they have been wronged. God is 
well able to help them,— those who have been driven out of their houses 
without right only because they said God is our Lord. Had not God used 

The Life of Muhammad 213 

some men to keep back others, cloisters and churches and oratories and 
mosques wherein the name of God is constantly mentioned would have 
been destroyed. Assuredly God will help those who help Him. God is 
Almighty. Those who if we make them strong in the land will establish 
prayer, pay the poor-tax, enjoin kindness, and forbid iniquity. To God 
belongs the end of matters.' 1 The meaning is: 'I have allowed them to 
fight only because they have been unjustly treated while their sole offence 
against men has been that they worship God. When they are in the ascen- 
dant they will establish prayer, pay the poor-tax, enjoin kindness, and 
forbid iniquity, i.e. the prophet and his companions all of them.' Then 
God sent down to him: 'Fight them so that there be no more seduction,' 2 
i.e. until no believer is seduced from his religion. 'And the religion is 
God's', i.e. Until God alone is worshipped. 

When God had given permission to fight and this clan of the Ansar 
had pledged their support to him in Islam and to help him and his followers, 
and the Muslims who had taken refuge with them, the apostle commanded 
his companions, the emigrants of his people and those Muslims who were 
with him in Mecca, to emigrate to Medina and to link up with their 
brethren the Ansar. 'God will make for you brethren and houses in which 
you may be safe.' So they went out in companies, and the apostle stayed 
in Mecca waiting for his Lord's permission to leave Mecca and migrate 
to Medina. 


The first of the Quraysh to migrate to Medina from among the apostle's 
companions was one of B. Makhzum, Abu Salama b. 'Abdu'l-Asad b. 
Hilal b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar b. Makhzum whose forename was 'Abdullah. 
He went to Medina a year before the pledge at al-'Aqaba, having come to 
the apostle in Mecca from Abyssinia. He migrated because the Quraysh 
ill-treated him and he had heard that some of the Ansar had accepted 

My father Ishaq b. Yasar on the authority of Salama who had it from 
his grandmother Umm Salama the prophet's wife told me that she said : 
When Abu Salama had decided to set out for Medina he saddled his camel 
for me and mounted me on it together with my son Salama who was in 
my arms. Then he set out leading the camel. When the men of B. 
al-Mughlra b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar b. Makhzum saw him they got up and 
said: 'So far as you are concerned you can do what you like; but what 
about your wife? Do you suppose that, we shall let you take her away?' 
So they snatched the camel's rope from his hand and took me from him. 
Abu Salama's family, the B. Abdu'l-Asad, were angry at this and said: 
'W r e will not leave our son with her seeing you have torn her from our 
tribesman.' So they dragged at my little boy Salama between them until 

1 Sura 22. 40-42. 2 Sura 2. 198. 

214 The Life of Muhammad 

they dislocated his arm, and the R. al-Asad took him away, while the 
B. al-Mughlra kept me with them, and my husband Abu Salama went to 
Medina. Thus I was separated from my husband and my son. I used to go 
out every morning and sit in the valley weeping continuously until a year 
or so had passed when one of my cousins of B. al-Mughlra passed and saw 
my plight and took pity on me. He said to his tribesmen, 'Why don't 
you let this poor woman go? You have separated husband, wife, and child.' 
So they said to me, 'You can join your husband if you like'; and then the 
B. 'Abdu'l-Asad restored my son to me. So I saddled my camel and took 
my son and carried him in my arms. Then I set forth making for my hus- 
band in Medina. Not a soul was with me. I thought that I could get food 
from anyone I met on the road until I reached my husband. When I was in 
Tan'im 1 I met 'Uthman b. Talha b. Abu Talha, brother of B. 'Abdu'l- 
Dar, who asked me where I was going and if I was all alone. I told him 
that except for God and my little boy I was alone. He said that I ought 
not to be left helpless like that and he took hold of the camel's halter and 
went along with me. Never have I met an Arab more noble than he. When 
we halted he would make the camel kneel for me and then withdraw; 
when we reached a stopping-place he would lead my camel away, unload it, 
and tie it to a tree. Then he would go from me and lie down under a tree. 
When evening came he would bring the camel and saddle it, then go 
behind me and tell me to ride; and when I was firmly established in the 
saddle he would come and take the halter and lead it until he brought me 
to a halt. This he did all the way to Medina. When he saw a village of 
B. 'Amr b. 'Auf in Quba' he said: 'Your husband is in this village (Abu 
Salama was actually there), so enter it with the blessing of God.' Then 
he went off on his way back to Mecca. 

She used to say, By God, I do not know a family in Islam which suffered 
what the family of Abu Salama did. 2 Nor have I ever seen a nobler man 
than 'Uthman b. Talha. 

The first emigrant to go to Medina after Abu Salama was 'Amir b. 
Rabl'a, an ally of B. 'Adly b. Ka'b together with his wife Layla d. of 
Hathma b. Ghanim b. 'Abdullah b. 'Auf b. 'Ubayd b. 'Uwayj b. 'Adly b. 
Ka'b. Then 'Abdullah b. Jahsh b. Ri'ab b. Ya'mar b. Sabira b. Murra b. 
Katliir b. Ghanm b. Dudan b. Asad b. Khuzayma ally of B. Umayya b. 
'Abdu Shams along with his family and his brother 'Abd — who was known 
as Abu Ahmad. Now Abu Ahmad was blind and he used to go all round 
Mecca from top to bottom without anyone to lead him. He' was a poet. 
He had to wife al-Far'a d. of Abu Sufyan b. Harb ; his mother was Umayma 
d. of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib. 

The house of the B. Jahsh was locked up when they left and 'Utba b. 
Rabl'a and al-'Abbas b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib and Abu Jahl b. Hisham passed 

1 This place is said to be two parasangs, i.e. about six miles, from Mecca. 
* The family was all but destroyed in the wars that followed ; 'Uthman himself was killed 
at the beginning of 'Ulnar's reign. 

The Life of Muhammad 215 

by it on their way to the upper part of Mecca. (Today it is the house of 
Ab5n b. 'Uthman in Radm.) 'Utba looked at it with its doors blowing to 
and fro, empty of inhabitants, and sighed heavily and said : 

Every house however long its prosperity lasts 

Will one day be overtaken by misfortune and trouble (260). 

Then T'tba went on to say, 'The house of the B. Jahsh has become 317 
tenantless.' To which Abu Jahl replied, 'Nobody will weep over that 

He went on: This is the work of this man's nephew. He has divided our 
community, disrupted our affairs, and driven a wedge between us. Abu 
Salama and 'Amir b. Rabi'a and 'Abdullah b. Jahsh and his brother Abu 
Ahmad b. Jahsh were billeted on Mubashshir b. 'Abdu'l-Mundhir b. 
Zanbar in Quba' among the B. 'Amr b. 'Auf. 

Then the refugees came in companies and the B. Ghanm b. Dildan were 
Muslims who had gone to Medina as a body with the apostle as emigrants 
both men and women: 'Abdullah b. Jahsh and his brother Abu Ahmad 
and 'U kasha b. Mihsan and Shuja' and 'Uqba, the two sons of Wahb, 
and Arbad b. Humayyira (262), and Munqidh b. Nubata and Sa'Td b. 
Ruqaysh and Muhriz b. Nadla and Yazid b. Ruqaysh, and Qays b. Jabir 
and 'Amr b. Mihsan and Malik b. 'Amr and Safwan b. 'Amr and Thaqf 
b. 'Amr and Rabi'a b. Aktham and al-Zubayr b. 'Abid and Tammam b. 
'Ubayda and Sakhbara b. TJbayda and Muhammad b. 'Abdullah b. 

Their women were Zaynab and Umm Hablb daughters of Jahsh, 
Judhama d. Jandal and Umm Qays d. Mihsan and Umm Habib d. 
Thumama and Amina d. of Ruqaysh and Sakhbara d. Tamim and 
Hamna d. Jahsh. 

Abu Ahmad, mentioning the migration of the B. Asad b. Khuzayma of 
his people to God and his apostle and their going in a body when they 
were called on to emigrate, said : 

Had Ahmad's mother 'twixt Safa and Marwa sworn 

Her oath would have been true. 

We were the first in Mecca and remained so 

Till the worse became the better part. 

Here Ghanm b. DQdan pitched his tent. 

From it Ghanm has gone and its inhabitants diminish. 1 

To God they go in ones and twos, 318 

Their religion the religion of God and his apostle. 

He also said : 

When Umm Ahmad saw me setting out 

In the protection of One I secretly fear and reverence, 

1 C.'s text has 'And what if Ghanm has gone', &c. Abu Dharr queries the word qotin 

The Life of Muhammad 


321 'Umar accompanied by various members of his family, and his brother 
Zayd, and 'Amr and 'Abdullah the sons of Suraqa b. al-Mu'tamir, and 
Khunays b. Hudhnfa al-Sahmi (who had married 'Ulnar's daughter 
Hafsa whom the apostle married after the death of her husband), and 
Waqid b. 'Abdullah al-Tamlmi an ally of theirs, and Khauli and Malik 
b. Abu Khauli, two allies (265), and four sons of al-Bukayr, namely 
Iyas, 'Ac|il, 'Amir, and Khalid; and their allies from B. Sa'd b. Layth; 
when they arrived at Medina stayed with Rifa'a b. 'Abdu'I-Mundhir b. 
Zanbar among B. 'Amr b. *Auf in Quba\ 'Ayyash also stayed with him 
when he came to Medina. 

Then came successive waves of emigrants: Talha b. 'Ubayd Allah b. 
Tinman ; Suhayb b. Sinan stayed with Khubayb b. Isaf brother of the B. 
al-Harith b. al-Khazraj, in al-Sunh.' Others deny this and say that 
Talha stayed with As'ad b. Zurara brother of the B. al-Najjar (266). 

322 ^ The following stayed with Kulthum b. Hidm brother of B. 'Amr b. 
'Auf in Quba': Hamza b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib; Zayd b. Haritha; Abo Mar- 
thad Kannaz b. Hisn (267) ; and his son Marthad of the tribe Ghani, allies 
of Hamza; Anasa; and Abu Kabsha, freedmcn of the apostle. Other 
reports are that they stayed with Sa'd b. Khaythama; and that Hamza 
stayed with As'ad b. Zurara. 

The following stayed with 'Abdullah b. Salama brother of the Banu 
'Ajlan in Quba': 'Ubayda b. al-Harith and his brother al-Tufayl; al- 
Ilusayn b. al-Harith; Mistah b. lithatha b. 'Abbad b. al-Mu'ttalib; 
Suwaybit b. Sa'd b. Huraymila brother of B. 'Abdu'l-Dar: Tulayb b. 
TWr brother of the B. 'Abd b. Qusayy; and Khabbab, freedman of 
*Utba b. Gha7.wan. 

With Sa'd b. al-Rabi* brother of the B. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj in the house 
of the latter stayed 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf with some male emigrants. 

With Mundhir b. Muhammad b. 'Uqba b. Uhayha b. al-Julah in 
al-'Usba the dwelling of the B. Jahjaba, stayed al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam 
and Abu Sabra b. Abu Ruhm b. 'Abdu'l-'l'zza. 

With Sa'd b. Mu'adh b. al-Nu'man brother of the B. 'Abdu'I-Ashhal in 
their dwelling stayed Mus'ab b. 'Umayr b. Hashim brother of the B. 

323 With 'Abbad b. Bishr b. Waqsh brother of the B. 'Abdu'I-Ashhal in 
the latter's dwelling stayed Abu Hudhayfa b. 'Utba b. Rabi'a and his 
freedman Salim; and 'Utba b. Ghazwan b. Jabir (268). 

With Aus b. Thabit b. al-Mundhir, brother of Hassan b. Thabit in the 
dwelling of B. al-Najjar stayed 'Uthman b. 'Affan. This was the reason why 
Hassan was so fond of 'Uthman and lamented him when he was slain. 

It is said that the celibate emigrants stayed with Sa'd b. Khaythama 
because he himself was unmarried; but God knows best about that. 

■ In the upper part of Medina. 





After his companions had left, the apostle stayed in Mecca waiting for 
permission to migrate. Except for Abu Bakr and 'All, none of his supporters 
were left but those under restraint and those who had been forced to aposta- 
tize. The former kept asking the apostle for permission to emigrate and 
he would answer, 'Don't be in a hurry; it may be that God will give you 
a companion.' Abu Bakr hoped that it would be Muhammad himself. 

When the Quraysh saw that the apostle had a party and companions 
not of their tribe and outside their territory, and that his companions 
had migrated to join them, and knew that they had settled in a new home 
and had gained protectors, they feared that the apostle might join them, 
since they knew that he had decided to fight them. So they assembled 
in their council chamber, the house of Qusayy b. Kilab where all their 
important business was conducted, to take counsel what they should do in 
regard to the apostle, for they were now in fear of him. 

One of our companions whom I have no reason to doubt told me on the 
authority of 'Abdullah b. Abu Najlh from Mujahid b. Jubayr father of 
al-Hajjaj; and another person of the same character on the authority of 324 
'Abdullah b. 'Abbas told me that when they had fixed a day to come to a 
decision about the apostle, on the morning of that very day which was 
called the day of al-Zahma the devil came to them in the form of a hand- 
some old man clad in a mantle and stood at the door of the house. When 
they saw him standing there they asked him who he was and he told them 
that he was a shaykh from the highlands who had heard of their intention 
and had come to hear what they had to say and perhaps to give them 
counsel and advice. He was invited to enter and there he found the 
leaders of Quraysh. From B. 'Abdu Shams were 'Utba and Shayba sons 
of Rabl'a; and Abu Sufyan. From B. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf Tu'ayma 
b. 'Adly; Jubayr b. Mut'im; and al-Harith b. 'Amir b. Naufal. From B. 
'Abdu'l-Dar al-Nadr b. al-Harith b. Kalada. From B. Asad b. 'Abdu'l- 
'Uzza Abu'l-Bakhtari b. Hisham and Zam'a b. al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib; 
and Ilaklm b. Hizam. From B. Makhzum Abu Jahl b. Hisham. From 
B. Sahm Nubayh and Munabbih the sons of al-Hajjaj. From B. Jumah 
Umayya b. Khalaf, and others including some who were not of Quraysh. 

The discussion opened with the statement that now that Muhammad 
had gained adherents outside the tribe they were no longer safe against 
a sudden attack and the meeting was to determine the best course to 
pursue. One advised that they should put him in irons behind bars and 
then wait until the same fate overtook him as befell his like, the poets 
Zuhayr and Nabigha, and others. The shaykh objected to this on the 
ground that news would leak out that he was imprisoned, and immediately 
his followers would attack and snatch him away; then their numbers 

222 The Life of Muhammad 

2*5 They must think of another plan. Another man suggested that they should 
drive him out of the country. They did not care where he went or what 
happened to him once he was out of sight and they were rid of him. They 
could then restore their social life to its former state. Again the shaykh 
objected that it was not a good plan. His fine speech and beautiful diction 
and the compelling force of his message were such that if he settled with 
some Beduin tribe he would win them over so that they would follow him 
and come and attack them in their land and rob them of their position and 
authority and then he could do what he liked with them. They must 
think of a better plan. 

Thereupon Abu Jahl said that he had a plan which had not been 
suggested hitherto, namely that each clan should provide a young, power- 
ful, well-born, aristocratic warrior; that each of these should be provided 
with a sharp sword ; then that each of them should strike a blow at him 
and kill him. Thus they would be relieved of him, and responsibility 
for his blood would lie upon all the clans. The B. 'Abdu Manaf could not 
fight them all and would have to accept the blood-money which they 
would all contribute to. The shaykh exclaimed: 'The man is right. 
In my opinion it is the only thing to do.' Having come to a decision the 
people dispersed. 

Then Gabriel came to the apostle and said : ' Do not sleep tonight on the 
bed on which you usually sleep.' Before much of the night had passed 
they assembled at his door waiting for him to go to sleep so that they 
might fall upon him. When the apostle saw what they were doing he 
told 'All to lie on his bed and to wrap himself in his green Had rami 
mantle; for no harm would befall him. He himself used to sleep in this 
32 6 mantle. 

Yazid b. Ziyad on the authority of Muhammad b. Ka'b. al-Qurazi told 
me that when they were all outside his door Abu Jahl said to them: 
'Muhammad alleges that if you follow him you will be kings of the Arabs 
and the Persians. Then after death you will be raised to gardens like those 
of the Jordan. But if you do not follow him you will be slaughtered, and 
when you are raised from the dead you will be burned in the fire of hell.' 
The apostle came out to them with a handful of dust saying: 'I do say 
that. You arc one of them.* God took away their sight so that they could 
not see him ami he began to sprinkle the dust on their heads as he recited 
these verses: 4 Ya Sin, by the wise Quran. Thou art of those that art sent 
on a straight path, a revelation of the Mighty the Merciful' as far as the 
words 'And we covered them and they could not see'. 1 When he had 
finished reciting not one of them but had dust upon his head. Then he 
went wherever he wanted to go and someone not of their company came 
up and asked them what they were waiting for there. When they said 
that they were waiting for Muhammad he said : ' But good heavens Muham- 
mad came out to you and put dust on the head of every single man of you 

» Sura 36. 1-8. 

The Life of Muhammad 223 

and then went off on his own affairs. Can't you see what has happened 
to you?' They put up their hands and felt the dust on their heads. Then 
they began to search and saw 'AH on the bed wrapped in the apostle's 
mantle and said, 'By God it is Muhammad sleeping in his mantle.' Thus 
they remained until the morning when 'All rose from the bed and then 
they realized that the man had told them the truth. 

Among the verses of the Quran which God sent down about that day 
and what they had agreed upon arc: 'And when the unbelievers plot to 
shut thee up or to kill thee or to drive thee out they plot, but God plots 
also, and God is the best of plotters'; 1 and 'Or they say he is a poet for 
whom we may expect the misfortune of fate. Say: Go on expecting for 
I am with you among the expectant* (260,). 2 

It was then that God gave permission to his prophet to migrate. Now 327 
Abu Bakr was a man of means, and at the time that he asked the apostle's 
permission to migrate and he replied 'Do not hurry; perhaps God will 
give you a companion,' hoping that the apostle meant himself he bought 
two camels and kept them tied up in his house supplying them with fodder 
in preparation for departure. 

A man whom I have no reason to doubt told me as from 'Urwa b. al- 
Zubayr that 'A'isha said: The apostle used to go to Abu Bakr's house 
every day either in the early morning or at night ; but on the day when he 
was given permission to migrate from Mecca he came to us at noon, an 
hour at which he was not wont to come. As soon as he saw him Abu Bakr 
realized that something had happened to bring him at this hour. When 
he came in Abu Bakr gave up his seat to him. Only my sister Asma* 
and I were there and the apostle asked him to send us away. 'But they 
are my two daughters and they can do no harm, may my father and my 
mother be your ransom,' said Abu Bakr. 'God has given me permission 
to depart and migrate,' he answered. 'Together?' asked Abu Bakr. 
'Together,' he replied. And by God before that day I had never seen 
anyone weep for joy as Abu Bakr wept then. At last he said, 'O prophet 
of God, these are the two camels which I have held in readiness for this.' 328 
So they hired 'Abdullah b. Arqat, a man of B. '1-Di'l b. Bakr whose mother 
was a woman of B. Sahm b. 'Amr, and a polytheist to lead them on the 
way, and they handed over to him their two camels and he kept them and 
ied them until the appointed day came. 3 

1 Sura 8. 30. 1 Sura 5a. 30. 

3 At this point in Suhayli's commentary (ii, p. 2) there is a note of considerable impor- 
tance in the light it throws on the textual tradition of our author. It runs thus: Ibn Ishaq 
said (in a narration which does not come via Ibn Hisham) in a long, sound, tradition which 
I have shortened that when Abu Bakr migrated with the apostle he left his daughters behind 
in Mecca. When they got to Medina the apostle sent Zayd b. Haritha and Abu Rafi* his 
freedman; and Abu Bakr sent 'Abdullah b. I rayqit together with 500 dirhems with which 
they bought a mount in Qudayd. Arrived at Mecca they brought away Sauda d. of Zama'a 
and Fatfma and Umm Kulthum. 'A'isha said: My mother came out with them and Talha 
b. 'Ubaydallah travelling together; and when we were in Qudayd the camel on whiCh my 
mother Umm Ruman and I were riding in a litter, bolted, and my mother began to cry 
Alas, my daughter, alas my husband! In the tradition of Yunus from Ibn Ishaq there is 

224 The Life of Muhammad 

According to what I have been told none knew when the apostle left 
except 'Ali and Abu Bakr and the latter's family. I have heard that the 
apostle told 'All about his departure and ordered him to stay behind in 
Mecca in order to return goods which men had deposited with the apostle ; 
for anyone in Mecca who had property which he was anxious about left it 
with him because of his notorious honesty and trustworthiness. 

When the apostle decided to go he came to Abu Bakr and the two of 
them left by a window in the back of the latter's house and made for a 
cave on Thaur, a mountain below Mecca. Having entered, Abu Bakr 

329 ordered his son 'Abdullah to listen to what people were saying and to 
come to them by night with the day's news. He also ordered 'Amir b. 
Fuhayra, his freedman, to feed his flock by day and to bring them to them 
in the evening in the cave. Asma' his daughter used to come at night with 
food to sustain them (270). 

The two of them stayed in the cave for three days. When Quraysh 
missed the apostle they offered a hundred she-camels to anyone who 
would bring him back. During the day 'Abdullah was listening to their 
plans and conversation and would come at night with the news. 'Amir 
used to pasture his flock with the shepherds of Mecca and when night 
fell would bring them to the cave where they milked them and slaughtered 
some. When 'Abdullah left them in the morning to go to Mecca, 'Amir 
would take the sheep over the same route to cover his tracks. When the 
three days had passed and men's interest waned, the man they had hired 
came with their camels and one of his own. Asma' came too with a bag 
of provisions; but she had forgotten to bring a rope, so that when they 
started she could not tie the bag on the camel. Thereupon she undid her 
girdle and using it as a rope tied the bag to the saddle. For this reason 
she got the name 'She of the girdle' (271). 

When Abu Bakr brought the two camels to the apostle he offered the 
better one to him and invited him to ride her. But the apostle refused to 
ride an animal which was not his own and when Abu Bakr wanted to give 
him it he demanded to know what he had paid for it and bought it from 
him. They rode off, and Abu Bakr carried 'Amir his freedman behind him 
to act as a servant on the journey. 

I was told that Asma' said, 'When the apostle and Abu Bakr had gone, 
a number of Quraysh including Abu Jahl came to us and stood at the door. 
When I went out to them they asked where my father was and when I 
said that I did not know Abu Jahl, who was a rough dissolute man, 

330 slapped my face so violently that my earring flew off. Then they took 
themselves off and we remained for three days without news until a man 

mention of this hadith. In it 'A'isha said 'I heard a voice but could see no one . . .', and she 
goes on to describe how they came to Medina and found the apostle building a mosque and 
houses for himself. 'I stayed with Abu Bakr's family and Sauda in her own house, and Abu 
Bakr asked the apostle if he would not build for his family, and when he said that he would 
if he had the money Abu Bakr gave him 12 okes and 20 dirhems.' This tradition from 
'A'isha comes via Ibn Abu'l-Zinad from Hisham b. 'Urwa from his father. 

The Life of Muhammad 225 

of the Jinn came from the lower part of Mecca singing some verses in 
the Arab way. And lo people were following him and listening to his 
voice but they could not see him, until he emerged from the upper part of 
Mecca saying the while: 

God the Lord of men give the best of his rewards 

To the two companions who rested in the two tents of Umm Ma'bad. 

They came with good intent and went off at nightfall. 

May Muhammad's companion prosperl 

May the place of the Banu Ka'b's woman bring them luck, 

For she was a look-out for the believers' (272). 

Asma' continued: 'When we heard his words we knew that the apostle 
was making for Medina. There were four of them: the apostle, Abu 
Bakr, 'Amir, and 'Abdullah b. Arqat their guide' (273). 

Yahya b. 'Abbad b. 'Abdullah b. al-Zubayr told me that his father 
'Abbad told him that his grandmother Asma' said: 'When the apostle 
went forth with Abu Bakr the latter carried all his money with him to the 
amount of five or six thousand dirhams. My grandfather Abu Quhafa 
who had lost his sight came to call on us saying that he thought that Abu 
Bakr had put us in a difficulty by taking off all his money. I told him that 
he had left us plenty of money. And I took some stones and put them in a 
niche where Abu Bakr kept his money; then I covered them with a cloth 331 
and took his hand and said, "Put your hand on this money, father." He 
did so and said: "There's nothing to worry about; he has done well in 
leaving you this, and you will have enough." In fact he had left us nothing, 
but I wanted to set the old man's mind at rest.' 

Al-Zuhri told me that 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. Malik b. Ju'shum told him 
from his father, from his uncle Suraqa b. Malik b. Ju'shum: 'When the 
apostle migrated Quraysh offered a reward of a hundred camels to anyone 
who would bring him back. While I was sitting in my people's assembly 
one of our men came up and stopped saying, "By God, I've just seen three 
riders passing. I think they must be Muhammad and his companions." 
I gave him a wink enjoining silence and said "They are the so-and-so 
looking for a lost camel." "Perhaps so," he said and remained silent. 
I remained there for a short while ; then I got up and went to my house and 
ordered my horse to be got ready, for it was tethered for me in the bottom 
of the valley. Then I asked for my weapons and they were brought 
from the back of the room. Then I took my divining arrows and went 
out, having put on my armour. Then I cast the divining arrows and out 
came the arrow which I did not want: "Do him no harm." 1 I did the 
same again and got the same result. I was hoping to bring him back to 
Quraysh so that I might win the hundred camels reward. 

'I rode in pursuit of him and when my horse was going at a good pace 

B 4080 

Some mark indicating this would be on the arrow. 


226 The Life of Muhammad 

he stumbled and threw me. I thought this was somewhat unusual so 
I resorted to the divining arrows again and out came the detestable "Do 
him no harm." But I refused to be put off and rode on in pursuit. Again 
my horse stumbled and threw me, and again I tried the arrows with the 
same result. 1 I rode on, and at last as I saw the little band my horse 
stumbled with me and its forelegs went into the ground and I fell. Then 
as it got its legs out of the ground smoke arose like a sandstorm. When 
I saw that I knew that he was protected against me and would have the 
upper hand. I called to them saying who I was and asking them to wait 
for me ; and that they need have no concern, for no harm would come to 
them from me. The apostle told Abu Bakr to ask what I wanted and I said, 
"Write a document for me which will be a sign between you and me" 
and the apostle instructed Abu Bakr to do so. 

'He wrote it on a bone, or a piece of paper, or a potsherd and threw it to 
me and I put it in my quiver and went back. I kept quiet about the whole 
affair until when the apostle conquered Mecca and finished with al-Ta'if and 
Hunayn I went out to give him the document and I met him in al-Ji'rana. 2 

'I got among a squadron of the Ansar cavalry and they began to beat 
me with their spears, saying, "Be off with you ; what on earth do you want ?" 
However, I got near to the apostle as he sat on his camel and his shank 
in his stirrup looked to me like the trunk of a palm-tree. I lifted my hand 
with the document, saying what it was and what my name was. He said "It 
is a day of repaying and goodness. Let him come near." So I approached 
him and accepted Islam. Then I remembered something that I wanted 
to ask him. All I can remember now is that I said "Stray camels used to 
come to my cistern which I kept full for my own camels. Shall I get a 
reward for having let them have water?" "Yes," he said, "for watering 
every thirsty creature there is a reward." Then I returned to my people 
and brought my alms to the apostle' (274). 

Their guide, 'Abdullah b. Arqat, took them below Mecca; then along 
the shore until he crossed the road below 'Usfan; then below Amaj ; then 
after passing Qudayd by way of al-Kharrar and Thaniyyatu'l-Marra to 
Liqf (275). 

He took them past the waterhole of Liqf, then down to Madlajatu 
Mahaj (276), then past Marjih Mahaj, then down to Marjih of Dhu'l- 
Ghadwayn (277), then the valley of Dhu Kashr; then by al-Jadajid, then 
al-Ajrad, then DhQ Salam of the valley of A'da', the waterhole of Ta'hin, 
then by al-'Ababid (278), then by way of al-Fajja (279). Then he took 
them down to al-'Arj; and one of their mounts having dropped behind, 
a man of Aslam, Aus b. Hujr by name, took the prophet to Medina on his 
camel which was called Ibn al-Rida*. sending with him a servant called 

1 This story is cast in the familiar form of the story-teller: the same words are repeated 
again and again until the climax is reached. In the translation given above the sense is given 
— not the repetitions. 

1 A place near Mecca on the road to al-Ta'if. 

7 he Life of Muhammad 227 

Mas'ijd h. Hunayda. From 'Arj the guide took them to Thaniyyatu'l- 
'A'ir (280) 1 to the right of Rukuha until he brought them down to the valley 
of Ri'm; thence to Quba* to B. 'Amr b. 'Auf on Monday 12th Rabi'u'l- 
awwal at high noon. 2 

Muhammad b. Ja'far b. al-Zubayr from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from 
'Abdu'l- Rahman b. 'Uwaymir b. Sa'ida told me, saying, 'Men of my tribe 
who were the apostle's companions told me, "When we heard that the 
apostle had left Mecca and we were eagerly expecting his arrival we used 334 
to go out after morning prayers to our lava tract beyond our land to await 
him. This we did until there was no more shade left and then we went 
indoors in the hot season. On the day that the apostle arrived we had sat 
as we always had until there being no more shade we went indoors and 
then the apostle arrived. The first to see him was a Jew. He had seen what 
we were in the habit of doing and that we were expecting the arrival of 
the apostle and he called out at the top of his voice 'O Banu Qayla your 
luck has come!' So we went out to greet the apostle who was in the 
shallow of a palm-tree with Abu Bakr who was of like age. Now most 
of us had never seen the apostle and as the people crowded round him 
they did not know him from Abu Bakr until the shade left him and Abu 
Bakr got up with his mantle and shielded him from the sun, and then we 
knew." ' 

The apostle, so they say, stayed with Kulthum b. Hidm brother of the 
B. 'Amr b. 'Auf, one of the B. 'Ubayd. Others say he stayed with Sa'd 
b. Khaythama. Those who assert the former say that it was only because he 
left Kulthum to go and sit with the men in Sa'd's house (for he was a 
bachelor and housed the apostle's companions who were bachelors) that 
it is said that he stayed with Sa'd, for his house used to be called the house 
of the bachelors. But God knows the truth of the matter. 

Abu Bakr stayed with Khubayb b. Isaf, one of the B. al-Harith b. al- 
Khazraj in al-Sunh. Some say it was with Kharija b. Zayd b. Abu Zuhayr, 
brother of the B. al-Harith. 

'All stayed in Mecca for three days and nights until he had restored the 
deposits which the apostle held. This done he joined the apostle and 335 
lodged with him at Kulthum's house. He stayed in Quba* only a night or 
two. He used to say that in Quba* there was an unmarried Muslim woman 
and he noticed that a man used to come to her in the middle of the night 
and knock on her door ; she would come out and he would give her some- 
thing. He felt very suspicious of him and asked hei what was the meaning 
of this nightly performance as she was a Muslim woman without a husband. 
She told him that the man was Sahl b. Hunayf b. Wahib who knew that 
she was all alone and he used to break up the idols of his tribe at night and 

' Yet a third possibility is al-Ghabir, T. "37. following 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr. Cf. Yaq. 
in. 596 and I.H.'s note. 

2 This paragraph occurs under the heading 'Ibn Hisham said'. But clearly it belongs to 
the original narrative, one of I.H.'s characteristic interpolations occurring in the middle of it. 

228 The Life of Muhammad 

bring her the pieces to use as fuel. 'All used to talk of this incident until 
Sahl died in Iraq while he was with him. Hind b. Sa'd b. Sahl b. Hunayf 
told me this story from what 'All said. 

The apostle stayed in Quba' among B. 'Amr b. 'Auf from Monday to 
Thursday and then he laid the foundation of his mosque. Then God 
brought him out from them on the Friday. The B. 'Amr allege that he 
stayed longer with them, and God knows the truth of the matter. Friday 
prayer found the apostle among B. Salim b. 'Auf and he prayed it in the 
mosque which is in the bottom of the Wadi Ranuna'. This was the first 
Friday prayer that he prayed in Medina. 

'Itban b. Malik and 'Abbas b. 'Ub5da b. Nadla with some of B. Salim 
b. 'Auf came and asked him to live with them and enjoy their wealth and 
protection, but he said, 'Let her go her way,' for his camel was under 
God's orders; so they let her go until she came to the home of B. Bayada, 
where he was met by Ziyad b. Labld and Farwa b. 'Amr with some of their 
clansmen. They gave the same invitation and met with the same reply. 
The same thing happened with B. Sa'ida when Sa'd b. 'Ubada and 

336 al-Mundhir b. 'Amr invited him to stay; and with B. '1-Harith b. al- 
Khazraj represented by Sa'd b. al-Rabl* and Kharija b. Zayd and 'Abdullah 
b. Rawaha ; and with B. 'Adiy b. al-Najjar (who were his nearest maternal 
relatives the mother of 'Abdu'l-Muttalib Salma d. 'Amr being one of their 
women), being represented by Salit b. Qays and Abu Salit and Usayra b. 
Abu Kharija. Finally the camel came to the home of B. Malik b. al-Najjar 
when it knelt at the door of his mosque, which at that time was used as a 
drying-place for dates and belonged to two young orphans of B. al-Najjar 
of B. Malik clan, who were under the protection of Mu'adh b. 'Afra', 
Sahl and Suhayl the sons of 'Amr. When it knelt the apostle did not alight, 
and it got up and went a short distance. The apostle left its rein free, not 
guiding it, and it turned in its tracks and returned to the place where it had 
knelt at first and knelt there again. It shook itself and lay exhausted with 
its chest upon the ground. The apostle alighted and Abu Ayyub Khalid b. 
Zayd took his baggage into the house (T. The Ansar invited him to stay with 
them, but he said 'A man (stays) with his baggage) 1 and the apostle stayed 
with him. When he asked to whom the date-store belonged Mu'adh b. 
'Afra' told him that the owners were Sahl and Suhayl the sons of 'Amr who 
were orphans in his care and that he could take it for a mosque and he 
would pay the young men for it. 

337 The apostle ordered that a mosque should be built, and he stayed with 
Abu Ayyub until the mosque and his houses were completed. The 
apostle joined in the work to encourage the Muslims to work and the 
muhajinn and the ansar laboured hard. One of the Muslims rhymed: 

If we sat down while the prophet worked 
It could be said that we had shirked. 

1 T. 1259. 7. 

As they built, the Muslims sang a rajaz verse: 

There's no life but the life of the next world. 

O God, have mercy on the ansar and the muhajira (281). 

The apostle used to sing it in the form 

There's no life but the life of the next world. 

O God, have mercy on the muhajirin and the ansar. 1 

'Ammar b. Yasir came in when they had overloaded him with bricks, 
saying, 'They are killing me. They load me with burdens they can't 
carry themselves.' Umm Salama the prophet's wife said: I saw the 
apostle run his hand through his hair — for he was a curly-haired man — 
and say 'Alas Ibn Sumayya! It is not they who will kill you but a wicked 
band of men.' 2 

'AH composed a rajaz verse on that day: 

There's one that labours night and day 
To build us mosques of brick and 'clay 
And one who turns from dust away! (282.) 

And 'Ammar learned it and began to chant it. 

When he persisted in it one of the prophet's companions thought that 
it was he who was referred to in it according to what Ziyad b. 'Abdullah 
al-Bakka'I told me from Ibn Ishaq. The latter had actually named the man. 3 

He said: 'I have heard what you have been saying for a long time, O 
Ibn Sumayya, and by God I think I'll hit you on the nose!' Now he had a 338 
stick in his hand and the apostle was angry and said, 'What is wrong 
between them and 'Amm5r? He invites them to Paradise while they 
invite him to hell. 'Ammar is as dear to me as my own face. If a man 
behaves like this he will not be forgiven, so avoid him.' 

Sufyan b. 'Uyayna mentioned on the authority of Zakariya from 
al-Sha'bl that the first man to build a mosque was 'Ammar b. Y3sir. 

The apostle lived in Abu Ayyub's house until his mosque and dwelling- 
houses were built ; then he removed to his own quarters. 

Yazld b. Abu Habib from Marthad b. 'Abdullah al-Yazani from Abu 
Ruhm al-Sama'i told me that Abu Ayyub told him: 'When the apostle 
came to lodge with me in my house he occupied the ground floor, while 
I and Umm Ayyub were above. I said to him, "O prophet of God, you 

1 By this alteration the rhyme and rhythm were destroyed. 

2 This prophecy is said to have been fulfilled when 'Ammar was killed at Siffin; Suhayli, 
P- 3- 

1 Suhayli says: Ibn Ishaq did name the man, but Ibn Hisham preferred not to do so so 
as not to mention one of the prophet's companions in discreditable circumstances. [Cf. 
what Ibn Hisham says in his introduction.] Therefore it can never be right to inquire after 
his^identity. Abu Dharr says : Ibn Ishaq did name the man and said 'This man was 'Uthman 
b. •Affan. 1 The Cairo editors say that in the Mawahib al-laduniya (al-QastallanT, d. A.D. 
1517) the man is said to be 'Uthtniin b. Ma?'un. This late writer may safely be ignored on 
this point. 

2 3 o The Life of Muhammad 

are dear to me as my parents, and I am distressed that I should be above 
and you below me. So leave your present quarters and exchange places 
with us." He replied: "O Abu Ayyub, it is more convenient for me and 
my guests that we should be on the ground floor of the house." So we 
remained as we were. Once we broke a jar of water and Umm Ayyub and 
I took one of our garments to mop up the water in fear that it would drop 
on the apostle and cause him annoyance. We had no cloth which we could 

'We used to prepare his evening meal and send it to him. When he 
returned what was left, Umm Ayyub and I used to touch the spot where 
his hand had rested and eat from that in the hope of gaining a blessing. 
One night we prepared for him onions or garlic and the apostle returned it 
and I saw no mark of his hand in it. I went to him in some anxiety to tell 
him of our practice and that this time there was no mark of his hand, and 
he replied that he had perceived the smell of the vegetables and he was a 
man who had to speak confidentially to people but that we should eat them. 
So we ate the dish and never sent him onions again.' 

339 The emigrants followed one another to join the apctle, and none was 
left in Mecca but those who had apostatized or been detained. Whole 
families with their property did not come together except the B. Maz'un 
from B. Jumah; the B. Jahsh b. Ri'ab, allies of B. Umayya; and the B. 
Bukayr from B. Sad b. Layth, allies of B. 'Adiy b. Ka'b. Their houses in 
Mecca were locked up when they migrated, leaving no inhabitant. 

When the B. Jahsh gave up their house Abu Sufyan went and sold it to 
'Amr b. 'Alqama brother of B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy. When the owners heard 
of this 'Abdullah b. Jahsh told the apostle of it, and he replied: 'Are you 
not pleased that God will give you a better house in Paradise?' And when 
he answered Yes, he said, 'Then you have it.' When the apostle got 
possession of Mecca Abu Ahmad spoke to him about their house ; and the 
apostle delayed his reply. People said to hirn, 'The apostle dislikes your 
reopening the question of your property which you lost in God's service, 
so don't speak to him about it again.' Abu Ahmad said in reference to 
Abu Sufyan: 

Tell Abu Sufyan of a matter he will live to regret. 
You sold your cousin's house to pay a debt you owed. 
Your ally by God the Lord of men swears an oath: 
Take it, Take it, may [your treachery] cling to you like the ring of the 

The apostle stayed in Medina from the month of RabiVl-awwal to 
Safar of the following year until his mosque and his quarters were built. 
This tribe of the Ansar all accepted Islam and every house of the Ansar 

340 accepted Islam except Khatma, Waqif, Wa'il, and Umayya who were the 
Aus Allah, a clan of Aus who clung to their heathenism. 

The fiist address which the apostle gave according to what I heard on the 

The Life of Muhammad 231 

authority of Abu Salama b. 'Abdu'l- Rahman — God save me from attri- 
buting to the apostle words which he did not say — was as follows: he 
praised and glorified God as was His due and then said: O men, send 
forward- (good works) for yourselves. You know, by God, that one of 
you may be smitten and will leave his flock without a shepherd. Then his 
Lord will say to him — there will be no interpreter or chamberlain to veil 
him from Him — Did not My apostle come to you with a message, and did 
not I give you wealth and show you favour ? What have you sent forward 
for yourself? Then will he look to right and left and see nothing; he will 
look in front of him and see nothing but hell. He who can shield his face 
from the fire even with a little piece of date let him do so ; and he who 
cannot find that then with a good word ; for the good deed will be rewarded 
tenfold yea to twice seven hundred fold. 1 Peace be upon you and God's 
mercy and blessing. 

Then the apostle preached on another occasion as follows: Praise 
belongs to God whom I praise and whose aid I implore. "We take refuge in 
God from our own sins and from the evil of our acts. He whom God 
guides none can lead astray; and whom He leads astray none can guide. 
I testify that there is no God but He alone, He is without companion. The 
finest speech is the Book of God. He to whom God has made it seem 
glorious and made him enter Islam after unbelief, who has chosen it above 
all other speech of men, doth prosper. It is the finest speech and the most 
penetrating. Love what God loves. Love God with all your hearts, and 
weary not of the word of God and its mention. Harden not your hearts 
from it. Out of everything that God creates He chooses and selects ; the 
actions He chooses He calls khira ; the people He chooses He calls mustafd ; 
and the speech He chooses He calls salih. From everything that is brought 
to man there, is the lawful and the unlawful. Worship God and associate 
naught with Him ; fear Him as He ought to be feared ; Carry out loyally 
towards God what you say with your mouths. Love one another in the 
spirit of God. Verily God is angry when His covenant is broken. Peace 
be upon you. 


The apostle wrote a document concerning the emigrants and the helpers 
in which he made a friendly agreement with the Jews and established them 
in their religion and their property, and stated the reciprocal obligations, 
as follows: In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful. This is a 
(document from Muhammad the prophet [governing the relations] between 
the believers and Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib, and those who 

1 Or, perhaps .imply 'seven hundredfold'. Here, as in the rest of the sermon, there is an 
allusion to the Qu«n. Cf. 34- 3* where commentators differ as to the exact meaning of 0f. 

followed them and joined them and laboured with them. They arc one 
community (umma) to the exclusion of all men. The Quraysh emigrants 
according to their present custom shall pay the bloodwit within their 
number and shall redeem their prisoners with the kindness and justice 
common among believers. 

The B. 'Auf according to their present custom shall pay the bloodwit 
they paid in heathenism ; every section shall redeem its prisoners with the 
kindness and justice common among believers. The B. Si'ida, the B. 
'l-Hirith, and the B. Jusham, and the B. al-Najjar likewise.' 

The B. 'Amr b. 'Auf, the B. al-Nabit and the B. al-'Aus likewise. 1 

Believers shall not leave anyone destitute among them by not paying 
34a his redemption money or bloodwit in kindness (283). 

A believer shall not take as an ally the freedman of another Muslim 
against him. The God-fearing believers shall be against the rebellious or 
him who seeks to spread injustice, or sin or enmity, or corruption between 
believers ; the hand of every man shall be against him even if he be a son 
of one of them. A believer shall not slay a believer for the sake of an 
unbeliever, nor shall he aid an unbeliever against a believer. God's pro- 
tection is one, the least of them may give protection to a stranger on their 
behalf. Believers are friends one to the other to the exclusion of outsiders. 
To the Jew who follows us belong help and equality. He shall not be 
wronged nor shall his enemies be aided. The peace of the believers is 
indivisible. No separate peace shall be made when believers are fighting 
in the way of God. Conditions must be fair and equitable to all. In every 
foray a rider must take another behind him. The believers must avenge 
the blood of one another shed in the way of God. The God-fearing 
believers enjoy the best and most upright guidance. No polytheist 3 shall 
take the property or person of Quraysh under his protection nor shall he 
intervene against a believer. Whosoever is convicted of killing a believer 
without good reason shall be subject to retaliation unless the next of kin 
is satisfied (with blood-money), and the believers shall be against him as 
one man, and they are bound to take action against him. 

It shall not be lawful to a believer who holds by what is in this document 
and believes in God and the last day to help an evil-doer 4 or to shelter him. 
The curse of God and His anger on the day of resurrection will be upon 
him if he does, and neither repentance nor ransom 5 will be received from 
him. Whenever you differ about a matter it must be referred to God and 
to Muhammad. 

The Jews shall contribute to the cost of war so long as they are fighting 

1 These ill belong to al-Khazraj. » These all belong to al-Aus. 

J Presumably the heathen Arabs of Medina are referred to. 

4 Muhdith. Commentators do not explain this word and it is somewhat obscure. Possibly 
it means 'adulterer* here, though a wider meaning suits the context better. Cf. W. 690. 

* See Lane, 1682a. Originally the phrase referred to the bloodwit. ^ar/ meant compensa- 
tion and adl the slaying of a man in revenge. Finally it came to mean anything excessive, 
ao that here it would be sufficient to say 'no excuse would be received from him'. 

The Life of Muhammad 233 

alongside the believers. The Jews of the B. *Auf are one community with 
the believers (the Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs), 
their freedmen and their persons except those who behave unjustly and 
sinfully, for they hurt but themselves and their families. The same applies 
to the Jews of the B. al-Najjir, B. al-Harith, B. Sa'ida, B. Jusham, B. 343 
al-Aus, B. Tha'laba, and the Jafna, a clan of the Tha'laba and the B. 
al-Shutayba. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. 1 The freedmen of 
Tha'laba are as themselves. The close friends 2 of the Jews are as themselves. 
None of them shall go out to war save with the permission of Muhammad, 
but he shall not be prevented from taking revenge for a wound. He who 
slays a man without warning slays himself and his household, unless it be 
one who has wronged him, for God will accept that. The Jews must bear 
their expenses and the Muslims their expenses. Each must help the other 
against anyone who attacks the people of this document. They must seek 
mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty is a protection against treachery. 
A man is not liable for his ally's misdeeds. The wronged must be helped. 
The Jews must pay with the believers so long as war lasts. Yathrib shall 
be a sanctuary for the people of this document. A stranger under pro- 
tection shall be as his host doing no harm and committing no crime. A 
woman shall only be given protection with the consent of her family. If 
any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise it must be 
referred to God and to Muhammad the apostle of God. God accepts 
what is nearest to piety and goodness in this document. Quraysh and their 
helpers shall not be given protection. The contracting parties are bound 
to help one another against any attack on Yathrib. If they are called to 
make peace and maintain it they must do so; and if they make a similar 
demand on the Muslims it must be carried out except in the case of a 
holy war. Every one shall have his portion from the side to which he 
belongs; 3 the Jews of al-Aus, their freedmen and themselves have the 
tame standing with the people of this document in pure loyalty from the 
people of this document (284). 

Loyalty is a protection against treachery: He who acquires aught 344 
acquires it for himself. God approves of this document. This deed will 
not protect 4 the unjust and the sinner. The man who goes forth to fight 
and the man who stays at home in the city 5 is safe unless he has been 
unjust and sinned. God is the protector of the good and God-fearing man 
and Muhammad is the apostle of God. 

1 Wellhausen, Sktxzen und Vorarbaten, v, Berlin, 1889, p. 70. renders Lauterkcit stcht 
vor Trug' and accuses Sprenger and Krehl of inexactness. S. has 'sie musscn loyal und 
nicht schlecht handeln' where a general truth is in question. Suhayli says the., meaning is 
'Piety and loyalty stand in the way of treachery' (ii. 17). 

a For the meaning of this word cf. 519. 4 where bifdna clearly has such a connotation. 

* This is not clear to me. 

4 For this idiom cf. Sura 6. 24. 

5 Or 'in Medina'. Whether Medina is meant or not the passage stands self-condemned as 
a later interpolation because the town is consistently called Yathrib. 


The Life of Muhammad 


The apostle instituted brotherhood between his fellow emigrants and the 
helpers, and he said according to what I have heard — and I appeal to 
God lest I should attribute to him words that he did not say — 'Let each 
of you take a brother in God.' He himself fook 'AH by the hand and said, 
'This is my brother.' So God's apostle, the lord of the sent ones and leader 
of the God-fearing, apostle of the Lord of the worlds, the peerless and 
unequalled, and. 'All b. Abu Talib became brothers. Hamza, the lion 
of God and the lion of his apostle and his uncle, became the brother of 
Zayd b. Haritha the apostle's freedman. To him Hamza gave his last 
testament on the day of Uhud when battle was imminent in case he should 
meet his death. Ja'far b. Abu Talib — the 'one of the wings' who was to 
fly in Paradise— and Mu'adh b. Jabal brother of B. Salama became 
brothers (285). 
The pairs were arranged thus: 

Abu Bakr and Kharija b. Zuhayr brother of B. '1-Harith b. al-Khazraj. 
'Umar and Ttban b. Malik brother of B. Salim . . . b. al-Khazraj. 
345 Abu 'Ubayda, 'Amir b. 'Abdullah and Sa'd b. Mu'adh b. al-Nu'man. 
Abdu'l-Rahman b. Auf and Sa'd b. al-Rabi' brother of B. al-Harith. 

Al-Zubayr b. al'Awwam and Salama b. Salama b. Waqsh brother of B. 
'Abdu'l-Ashhal though others say that he linked up with 'Abdullah b. 
Mas'ud the ally of the B. Zuhra. 

'Uthman b. 'Affan and Aus b. Thabit b. al-Mundhir brother of B. 
al-Najjar. Talha b. 'Ubaydullah and Ka'b b. Malik brother of the B. 

Sa'd b. Zayd b. 'Amr b. Nufayl and Ubayy b. Ka'b brother of the B. 

Mus'ab b. 'Umayr and Abu Ayyub Khalid b. Zayd brother of the B. al- 
Najjar Abu Hudhayfa b. 'Utba and 'Abbad b. Bishr b. Waqsh, brother of 
the B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal. 

'Ammar b. Yasir ally of the B. Makhzum and Hudhayfa b. al-Yaman 
brother of B. 'Abdu 'Abs ally of the B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal. (Others say that 
Thabit b. Qays b. al-Shammas brother of the B. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj 
the prophet's orator and 'Ammar b. Yasir.) 

Abu Dharr, Burayr b. Junada al-Ghifarl and al-Mundhir b. 'Amr, 
'he who hastened to his death*, brother of B. Sa'ida of al-Khazraj 

Hatib b. Abu Balta'a, ally of B. Asad b. 'Abdu'l-Tzza and 'Uwaym 
b. Sa'ida brother of B. 'Amr b. 'Auf. 

Salman the Persian and Abu'l-Darda' 'Uwaymir b. Tha'laba brother of 
B. al-Harith (287). Some say 'Uwaymir was the son of 'Amir or of Zayd. 

Bilal freedman of Abu Bakr and the apostle's muezzin and Abu Ruwayha 1 

1 A kunya characteristic of ■ negro, 'the father of the faint smell*. Cf. H. Lammcns, 
L'Arabie occidental avant Vllegire, p. 246. 

The Life of Muhammad 235 

•Abdullah b. 'AbduU-Rahman al-Khath'ami, more precisely one of the 

These are the men who were named to us as those to whom the 
apostle made his companions brothers. 

When *Umar compiled the registers in Syria Bilal had gone there and 
remained as a combatant. He asked him with whom he wished to be 346 
grouped and he said with Abu Ruwayha. *I will never leave him, for the 
apostle established brotherhood between us.' So he was linked with him 
and the register of the Abyssinians was linked with Khath'am because of 
BilaTs position with them, and this arrangement continues to this day in 


During the months in which the mosque was being built Abu Umama 
As'ad b. Zurara died ; he was seized by diphtheria and a rattling in the 

'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm told me on the 
authority of Yahya b. 'Abdullah b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. As'ad b. Zurara 
that the apostle said: 'How unfortunate is the death of Abu Umama! 
The Jews and the Arab hypocrites are sure to say "If he were a prophet 
his companion would not die" and (truly) I have no power from God for 
myself or for my companion (to avert death).' 

'As. im b. 'Umar b. Qatada al-Ansari told me that when Abu Umama died 
the B. al-Najjar came to the apostle, for Abu Umama was their leader, saying 
that he held the high rank the apostle knew of and would he appoint some- 
one from among them to act in his place ; to which the apostle replied, 'You 
are my maternal uncles, and we belong together so I will be your leader.' 
The apostle did not want to prefer any one of them to the others. Hence- 
forth the B. al-Najjar regarded themselves as highly honoured in having 
the apostle as their leader. 


When the apostle was firmly settled in Medina and his brethren the 
emigrants were gathered to him and the affairs of the helpers were arranged 
Isiam became firmly established. Prayer was instituted, the alms tax and 
fasting were prescribed, legal punishments fixed, the forbidden and the 
permitted prescribed, and Islam took up its abode with them. It was this 347 
clan of the helpers who ' have taken up their abode (in the city of the prophet) 
and in the faith'. 1 When the apostle first came, the people gathered to 
him for prayer at the appointed times without being summoned. At first 
the apostle thought of using a trumpet like that of the Jews who used it to 
summon to prayer. Afterwards he disliked the idea and ordered a clapper 

1 Sura 5y. y. 

236 The Life of Muhammad 

to be made, so it was duly fashioned to be beaten when the Muslims should 
Meanwhile 'Abdullah b. Zayd b. Tha'laba b. 'Abdu Rabbihi brother of 
B. al-Harith heard a voice in a dream, and came to the apostle saying: 
'A phantom visited me in the night. There passed by me a man wearing 
two green garments carrying a clapper in his hand, and I asked him to sell 
it to me. When he asked me what I wanted it for I told him that it was 
to summon people to prayer, whereupon he offered to show me a better 
way: it was to say thrice "Allah Akbar. I bear witness that there is no 
God but Allah I bear witness that Muhammad is the apostle of God. 
Come to prayer. Come to prayer. Come to divine service. 1 Come to 
divine service. Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar. There is no God but Allah".' 
When the apostle was told of this he said that it was a true vision if God 
so willed it, and that he should go with Bilal and communicate it to him 
so that he might call to prayer thus, for he had a more penetrating voice. 
When Bilal acted as muezzin 'Umar heard him in his house and came 
to the apostle dragging his cloak on the ground and saying that he had seen 
precisely the same vision. The apostle said, 4 God be praised for that!' 

I was told of this tradition by Muhammad b. Ibrahim b. al-Harith on 
the authority of Muhammad b. 'Abdullah b. Zayd b. Tha'laba himself 

Muhammad b. Ja'far b. al-Zubayr told me on the authority of 'Urwa 
b. al-Zubayr from a woman of B. al-Xajjar who said: My house was the 
highest of those round the mosque and Bilal used to give the call from 
the top of it at dawn every day. He used to come before daybreak and 
would sit on the housetop waiting for the dawn. When he saw it he would 
stretch his arms and say, 'O God, I praise thee and ask thy help for Quraysh 
that they may accept thy religion.' I never knew him to omit these words 
for a single night. 


When the apostle was established in his house and God had manifested 
his religion therein and made him glad with the company of the emigrants 
and helpers Abu Qays spoke the following verses (289). 

He was a man who had lived as a monk in heathen days and worn a 
black mantle of camel-hair, given up idols, washed himself after impurity, 
kept himself clean from women in their courses. He had thought of 
adopting Christianity but gave it up and went into a house of his and made 

1 Faldh. This word is generally rendered 'salvation* or 'prosperity'; cf. I.ane, 2430*1. 
But it has always seemed to mc that it must be an arabized form of the Aramaic pulhdnd, 
divine worship. Its original meaning is clearly cutting, especially ploughing. Among Ara- 
maic-speaking Jews and Christians it was connected with the sen ice of Cod. Between the 
words 'Come to the faldh and Allah Akbar' the Shi'a cry 'Come to the best work ('amul)' 
which must surely be a memory of the original meaning of faldh. I. Sayyidi'l-Nas 'Uyunu'l- 
Athar, Cairo, 1356, i. 204, quotes this story in what appears to be a more primitive form. 

The Life of Muhammad 237 

a mosque of it, allowing no unclean person to enter. Tie said that he 
worshipped the Lord of Abraham when he abandoned idols and loathed 
them. When the apostle came to Medina he became a good Muslim. He was 
an old man, who always spoke the truth and glorified God in paganism. 
He composed some excellent poetry and it was he who said: 

Said Abu Qays when near to depart 349 

Perform all you can of my behest. 

I enjoin piety, the fear of God, and 

The preservation of your honour, but piety comes first. 

If your people hold authority envy them not. 

If you yourselves rule, be just. 

If a calamity befalls your people, 

Put yourselves in the front of your tribe. 

If a heavy duty falls on them help them 

And bear the burdens they put upon you. 

If you are poor, practise austerity. 

If you have money be generous with it (290). 

He also said: 

Praise God at every dawn 

When His sun rises and at the new moon. 

He knows what is clear and not clear to us. 

What our Lord says is without error. 

His are the birds which fly to and fro and shelter 

In nests in their mountain retreats. 

His are the wild creatures of the desert 

Which you see on the dunes and in the shade of sandhills. 

Him the Jews worship and follow 

Every dreary custom you can think of. 1 

Him the Christians worship and keep 

Every feast and festival to their Lord. 

His is the self-denying monk you see, 

A prisoner of misery though once right happy. 

My sons, sever not the bonds of kinship. 

Be generous though they are mean. 2 

Fear God in dealing with defenceless orphans 

Often the forbidden is regarded as lawful. 

Know that the orphan has an All-knowing protector 

Who guides aright without being asked. 

Devour not the wealth of orphans, 

A mighty protector watches over the same. 

1 A. Dh. explains that 'uddl, a wearisome incurable disease, is a metaphor. 

2 Commentators differ on the meaning of this phrase. Another possibility is: 'Though 
their pedigree is short their hearts are generous'. All through these verses one feels that the 
wretched rhymester is imprisoned within his rhymes. 

23S The Life of Muhammad 

My sons, transgress not the proper limits 

Transgressing the bounds brings one to a halt. 

O my sons, trust not the days. 

Beware their treachery and the passage of time. 

Know that it consumes all creation, 

Both the new and the old. 

Live your lives in piety and godliness. 

Abandon obscenity and hold fast to what is right. 1 

In the following poem he mentioned how God had honoured them with 
Islam and His special favour in sending His apostle to them: 

He abode among Quraysh some ten years 

Hoping for a friend to help him. 

He displayed himself to those who came to the fairs 

But found none to offer him hospitality. 

But when he came to us God displayed his religion 

And he became happy and contented in Medina/ 

He found friends and ceased to long for home 

And was plainly helped by God. 3 

He told us what Noah said to his people 

And what Moses answered when he was called. 

None near at hand need he fear 

And those afar he recked not of. 4 

We spent on him the best of our possessions, 

Sparing not our lives in war at his side. 

We know that there is nought beside God 

And we know that God is the best guide. 

We shall fight any man that fights Him, 

Be he our dearest friend. 

In every mosque when I pray to Thee 

I say Blessed art Thou (Oft have I mentioned Thy name). 

I say when I traverse a land I fear 

'Mercy! Let not my enemies triumph over me.' 

Go where you will death comes in many guises 

And you cannot live for ever. 

A man does not know how to protect himself 

Unless he makes God his protector. 

The palm that needs water 5 cares naught for its owner 

If it has moisture, though he be dead (291). 

1 The influence of Syriac as in the words shammasa and tukhiim is clear, and some of the 
verses are reminiscent of the Psalms. 

1 Tiba, 'the Fragrant', is the ancient honorific of Medina. Cf. Hassan's opening line on 
p. 1022, *In Tiba are the monuments of his luminous sojourn*. 

3 W.'s text 'He was a plain help to us from God' seems inferior to the C. text. 

4 The verse is just as banal in the original. 

5 I follow C. in reading mu'ima for W.'s muqima, and tdwiya for thdwiya 'standing'. 

The Life of Muhammad 239 

(X- 'All b. Mujahid said on the authority of Muhammad b. Ishaq from T. 
al-Zuhri and from Muhammad b. Salih from al-Sha'bi that they both said: 
The B. Isma'il dated from the fire of Abraham to the building of the 
temple when Abraham and Isma'il built it; then they dated from the 
building of the temple until they dispersed, and it happened that when- 
ever people left Tihama they dated from their leaving it, and those who 
remained in Tihama of B. Isma'il used to date from the going out of 
Sa'd and Nahd and Juhayna of B. Zayd from Tihama until Ka'b b. Lu'ayy 
died. Then they dated from the death of Ka'b to the elephant. The dating 
from the time of the elephant continued until 'Umar b. al-Khattab dated 
from the Hijra which was the year 17 or 18. 1 


About this time the Jewish rabbis showed hostility to the apostle in envy, 351 
hatred, and malice, because God had chosen His apostle from the Arabs. 
They were joined by men from al-Aus and al-Khazraj who had obstinately 
clung to their heathen religion. They were hypocrites, clinging to the 
polytheism of their fathers denying the resurrection; yet when Islam 
appeared and their people flocked to it they were compelled to pretend 
to accept it to save their lives. But in secret they were hypocrites whose 
inclination was towards the Jews because they considered the apostle a liar 
and strove against Islam. 

It was the Jewish rabbis who used to annoy the apostle with questions 
and introduce confusion, so as to confound the truth with falsity. The 
Quran used to come down in reference to these questions of theirs, though 
some of the questions about what was allowed and forbidden came from 
the Muslims themselves. These are the names of those Jews: 

From B. al-Nadir: Huyayy b. Akhjab and his brothers Abu Yasir and 
Judayy; Sallam b. Mishkam; Kinana b. al-Rabi' b. Abu'l-Huqayq ; 
Sallam b. Abu'l-Huqayq Abu Raft' al-A'war whom the apostle's com- 
panions killed in Khaybar; al-Rabi' b. al-Rabi' b. Abu'l-Huqayq; 'Amr 
b. Jahhash; Ka'b b. al-Ashraf who belonged to Tay\ of the clan of B. 
Nabhan, his mother being from B. al-Nadir; al-Hajjaj b. 'Amr, an ally of 
Ka'b; and Kardam b. Qays, an ally of Ka'b. 

From B. Tha'laba b. al-Fityaun: 'Abdullah b. Suriya the one-eyed who 
w?s the most learned man of his time in the Hijaz in Torah studies ; Ibn 
Saluba ; and Mukhayriq their rabbi who became a Muslim. 

From B. Qaynuqa': Zayd b. al-Lasit (291); Sa'd b. Hunayf; Mahmud 
b. Sayhan ; 'Uzayr b. Abu 'Uzayr; and Abdullah b. Sayf (292). Suwayd b. 352 
al-Harith; Rifa'a b. Qays; Finhas; Ashya*; Nu'man b. Ada; Bahriy b. 

' This paragraph is part of a long chapter which 'J\ devotes to the question of chronology 
in reference to the principal events in the prophet's life. It is put here because the last 
passage he quotes from I.I. is the poem of Abu Qays mentioning the length of the prophet's 
sojourn in Mecca after the beginning of his mission; the connexion with chronology is 

240 The Life of Muhammad 

'Amr; Sha's b. 'Adiy; Sha's h. Qays; Zayd b. al-Harith; Nu'man b. 'Amr; 
Sukayn b. Abu Sukayn; 'Adiy b. Zayd; Nu'man b. Abu Aufa; Abu Anas; 
Mahmud b. Dahya; Malik b. Sayf (293). Ka'b b. Rashid; 'Azar; Ran' 
b. Abu Ran'; Khalid; Azar b. Abu Azar (294); Ran' b. Haritha; Raft* b. 
Huraymila; Rafi* b. Kharija; Malik b. 'Auf; Rifa'a b. Zayd b. al-Tabut 
'Abdullah b. Salam b. al-Harith; who was their rabbi and most learned 
man. His name was al-Husayn. The apostle named him 'Abdullah when 
he accepted islam. 

From B. Qurayza: al-Zubayr b. Bata b. Wahb; 'Azzal b. Shamwil; 
Ka'b b. Asad responsible on behalf of his tribe for the agreement which was 
broken in the year of the Parties; Shamwil b. Zayd; Jabal b. 'Amr b. 
Sukayna; al-Nahham b. Zayd; Qardam b. Ka'b; Wahb b. Zayd; Nafi' b. 
Abu Nafi*; Abu Nafi*; 'Adiy b. Zayd; al-Harith b. 'Auf; Kardam b. Zayd; 
Usama b. Habib; Rafi' b. Rumayla; Jabal b. Abu Qushayr; Wahb b. 

From B. Zurayq: Labld b. A'sam who bewitched the apostle of God so 
that he could not come at his wives. 1 
From B. Haritha: Kinana b. Suriya. 
B. 'Amr b. 'Auf: Qardam b. 'Amr. 
From B. al-Najjar: Silsila b. Barham. 

These were the Jewish rabbis, the rancorous opponents of the apostle 
and his companions, the men who asked questions, and stirred up trouble 
against Islam to try to extinguish it, except for 'Abdullah b. Salam and 
Mukhayriq. 2 


I was told the story of 'Abdullah b. Salam, a learned rabbi, by one of his 
family. He said: 'When I heard about the apostle I knew by his descrip- 
tion, name, and the time at which he appeared that he was the one we 
were waiting for, and I rejoiced greatly thereat, though I kept silent about 
it until the apostle came to Medina. When he stayed in Quba' among the 
B. 'Amr b. 'Auf a man came with the news while I was working at the top 
of a palm-tree and my aunt Khalida d. al-Harith was sitting below. When 
I heard the news I cried Allah Akbar and my aunt said, "Good gracious, 
if you had heard that Moses b. 'Imran had come you could not have made 
more fuss!" "Indeed, aunt," I said, "he is the brother of Moses and follows 
his religion, being sent with the same mission." She asked, "Is he really 

1 In commenting on this Suhayli asserts that the tradition is sound and is accepted by the 
traditionists. He found in the Jam' of Mu'ammar b. Rashid (a work which I cannot find 
mentioned by Brockelmann) the statement that the spell lasted for a year. He adds that the 
Mu'tazila and Modernists rejected the tradition on the ground that prophets could not be 
bewitched otherwise they would commit sin and that would be contrary to the word of God 
|And God will protect thee from men' (Sura 5. 71). He finds the tradition unassailable. It 
is properly attested and intellectually acceptable. The prophets were not preserved from 
bodily afflictions in which category sorcery falls. 

* It is noteworthy how few Hebrew names are to be found among the Jews of Medina. 

The Life of Muhammad 241 

the prophet who we have been told will be sent at this very time ?" and 
she accepted my assurance that he was. Straightway I went to the apostle 
and became a Muslim, and when I returned to my house I ordered my 
family to do the same. 

'I concealed the matter from the Jews, and then went to the apostle 
and said, "The Jews are a nation of liars and I wish you would take me into 
one of your houses and hide me from them. Then ask them about me so 
that they may tell you the position I hold among them before they know 
that I have become a Muslim. For if they know it beforehand they will 
utter slanderous lies against me." The prophet housed me ; the Jews came ; 
and the apostle asked them about my standing among them. They said : 
"He is our chief, and the son of our chief ; our rabbi, and our learned man." 
When they said this I emerged and said: "O Jews, fear God and accept 
what He has sent you. For by God you know that he is the apostle of God. 
You will find him described in your Torah and even named. I testify 
that he is the apostle of God, I believe in him, I hold him to be true, and 
I acknowledge him." They accused me of lying and reviled me. Then I 
reminded the apostle that I had said that they would do this, for they 
were a treacherous, lying, and evil people. I publicly proclaimed my 
conversion and my household and my aunt Khalida followed suit.* 


He was a learned rabbi owning much property in date palms. He re- 
cognized the apostle by his description and his own learning, and he 
felt a predilection for his religion 1 until on the day of Uhud, which fell on 
the sabbath, he reminded the Jews that they were bound to help Muham- 
mad. They objected that it was the sabbath. 'May you have no sabbath,' 2 
he answered, and took his weapons and joined the apostle in Uhud. His 
parting testimony to his people was: 'If I am killed today my property is 
to go to Muhammad to use as God shows him.' He was killed in the battle 
that followed. I am told that the apostle used to say 'Mukhayriq is the best 
of the Jews.' The apostle took over his property and all the alms he 
distributed in Medina came from it 


'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr b. Muhammad b. 'Amr b. Hazm told me that he 
was told that Safiya d. Huyayy b. Akhtab said 'I was the favourite child 
of my father and my uncle Abu Yasir. When I was present they took no 
notice of their other children. When the apostle was staying in Quba' 
with the B. 'Amr b. 'Auf, the two went to see him before daybreak and did 
not return until after nightfall, weary, worn out, drooping and feeble. 

1 Presumably 'Muhammad's religion'; the pronoun is ambiguous. 

2 Or, perhaps, 'You have no sabbath'. 

U 40S0 R 


The Life of Muhammad 

355 I went up to them in childish pleasure as I always did, and they were SO 
sunk in gloom that they took no notice of me. I heard my uncle say to my 
father, "Is he he? Do you recognize him, and can you be sure?" "Yes!" 

if » 


The following hypocrites' from al-Aus and al-Khazraj joined the Jews 
according to information given me. God knows best about the truth. 
From Aus of the section of B. 'Amr b. 'Auf b. Malik of the subdivision 
Laudhan b. 'Amr b. 'Auf: Zuwayy b. al-Harith. From B. Hubayb b. 4 Amr 
b. 'Auf: Julas b. Suwayd b. al-Samit and his brother al-Harith. Julas was 
one of those who withdrew from the apostle in the raid on Tabuk. He 
said, 'If this man is right we are worse than donkeys.' 'Umayr b. Sa'd, one 
of them, who was closely related to Julas, he having married his mother 
after his father's death, reported what he had said to the apostle. But 
first he said to Julas: 'You are dearer to me than any man, the most 
generous to me, and it is most painful to me that anything should happen 
to upset you ; but you have said words which if I repeat them I shall bring 
shame upon you, and if I keep silence I shall bring my religion into peril. 
One is preferable to the other.' Then he went to the apostle and told him 
what Julas had said. Julas swore by God that he had not said the words 
attributed to him by 'Umayr. And God sent down concerning him: 
'They swear by God that they did not say, when they did actually say, 
words of unbelief and did disbelieve after they had surrendered themselves. 
They planned what they could not carry out and they had nothing to 
avenge but that God and His apostle had enriched them by His bounty. 
If they repent it will be better for them; and if they turn back God will 
afflict them with a painful punishment in this world and the next. In this 
world they have no friend or helper' (295).* 
356 It is alleged that he repented and was known to be a good Muslim. 
His brothei al-Harith who killed al-Mujadhdhar b. Dhiyad al-BalawI and 
Qays b. Zayd one of B. Pubay'a at Uhud, went out with the Muslims. He 
was a hypocrite, and when battle was joined he fell upon these two men, 
killed them, and attached himself to Quraysh (296). 

Mu'adh b. 'Afra' killed Suwayd treacherously when there was no war. 
He shot him with an arrow before the battle of Bu'ath. 

The apostle — so they say — had ordered 'Umar to kill him if he could 
get hold of him, but he escaped and got to Mecca. Then he sent to his 
brother Julas asking for forgiveness so that he might return to his people. 

1 What Arabic writers mean by 'hypocrites' has been made clear in the section on the 
Jewish adversaries. It is not a really good rendering of mundfiq, but no one word suggests 
itself as better. Muslims look with a tolerant eye on a man who conceals his belief through 
force majeure, but to pretend to be a Muslim is a crime. 3 Sura 9. 75. 

The Life of Muhammad 243 

God sent down concerning him according to what I have heard on the 
authority of Ibn 'Abbas: 'How can God guide a people -who have dis- 
believed after having believed and witnessed that the apostle is true and 
sure proofs have come to them from God. God does not guide a sinful 

From B. Pubay'a b. Zayd b. Malik b. *Auf b. 'Amr b. 'Auf : Bijad b. 
'Uthman b. 'Amir. From B. Laudhan b. 'Amr b. 'Auf: Nabtal b. al- Harith. 
I have heard that it was of him that the apostle said, 'Whoever wants to see 
Satan let him take a look at Xabtal b. al-Harith!' He was a sturdy black 
man with long flowing hair, inflamed eyes, and dark ruddy cheeks. He 
used to come and talk to the apostle and listen to him and then carry what 
he had said to the hypocrites. It was he who said: 'Muhammad ie all 
ears: if anyone tells him anything he believes it.' God sent down concern- 
ing him: 'And of them are those who annoy the prophet and say he is all 357 
ears. Say: Good ears for you. He believes in God and trusts the believers 
and is a mercy for those of you who believe; and those who annoy the 
apostle of God for them there is a painful punishment.' 2 

A man of B. al-'Ajlan told me that he was told that Gabriel came to the 
apostle and said, 'There comes to sit with you a black man with long 
flowing hair, ruddy checks, and inflamed eyes like two copper pots. His 
hearth is more gross than a donkey's; he carries your words to the hypo- 
crites, so beware of him.* This, so they say, was the description of 

Also from B. Dubay'a was Abu Habiba b. al-Az'ar, one of those who 
had built the mosque of al-Dirar; Tha'laba b. Hatib; and Mu'attib b. 
Qushayr. It was those two who made a covenant with God saying, 'If 
he gives us of his bounty we will give alms and be of the righteous' 4 
to the end of the story. And it was Mu'attib who said at Uhud: 'If we had 
any part in the ordering of things we should not be killed here.' So God 
sent down concerning what he said: 'A party who were anxious about their 
hves thought wrongly about God as the pagans thought. They said: 
"If we had any part in the ordering of things we should not be killed here" 5 
to the end of the context. It was he who said on the day of the Parties, 
"Muhammad promises us that we shall enjoy the treasures of Chosroes 
and Caesar whereas it is not safe for one of us to go to the privy!" So God 
revealed concerning him: 'And when the hypocrites and those in whose 

delusion.' 6 P° P "ng but a 

Also al-Harith b. Hatib (297). 

Also 'Abbad b. 1 Iunayf brother of Sahl, and Bahzaj who were among the 
builders of the mosque of al-Dirar. And 'Amr b. Khidham and 'Abdullah 
b. Nabtal. 

Of the B. Tha'laba were Jariya b. 'Amir b. al-'Attaf and his two sons 358 

J Sura 3. 80. 1 Sura 9. 61. 3 Lit. 'liver'. 

Sura V- 76. I Sura 3. 148. « Sura 33. M. 

244 Tfl€ Li f e °f Muhammad 

Zayd and Mujammi'. They were also concerned with the mosque of al- 
Dirar. Mujammi' was a youth who had collected most of the Quran and 
lie used to lead them in prayer. When the mosque had been destroyed and 
certain men of B. 'Amr b. 'Auf who used to lead their people in prayer in 
their mosque, died, in the time of 'Umar, Mujammi' was mentioned to act 
as leader, but 'Umar would not have it, saying, 'Wasn't he the imam of the 
hypocrites in the mosque of al-Dirar ?' He replied : 'By God, I knew nothing 
of their affairs. But I was a youngster who could recite the Quran, 
whereas they could not, so they put me forward to lead the prayers. Their 
affair seemed to me to accord with the best account they gave.' They allege 
that 'Umar let him go and lead the prayers of his people. 

Of B. Umayya b. Zayd b. Malik: Wadi'a b. Thabit, one of the builders 
of the Pirar mosque who said, 'Wc were only talking and jesting.' So 
God sent down: 'If you ask them they will say we were only talking and 
jesting. Say: Is it about God and His signs and His apostle you were 
jesting?' to the end of the passage. 

Of B. Ubayd b. Zayd b. Malik: Khidham b. Khalid, from whose house 
the mosque of al-Dirar was carved out; and Bishr and Rafi' the two 
sons of Zayd. 

Of B. al-Nablt (298) of the clan of B. Haritha b. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj 
b. 'Amr b. Malik b. al-Aus: Mirba' b. Qayzl who said to the apostle when 
he passed through his garden on his way to Uhud: 'I do not allow you 
Muhammad to pass through my garden even if you are a prophet.' He 
took a handful of dirt and said: 'By God, if I did not know that I might 
throw it on others I would throw this dirt at you.' The people pressed on 
him to kill him and the apostle said: 'Let him alone. For this blind man 
is blind of heart and blind of perception'. Sa'd b. Zayd brother of B. 
'Abdu'l-Ashhal hit him with his bow and wounded him; also his brother 
Aus b. Qayzl, who said to the apostle on the day of the Trench: 'Our 
houses lie open to the enemy, so give us leave to go back to them.' So 
God revealed concerning him : 'They say Our houses lie open to the enemy. 
They are not open; all they want is to run away* (290). 1 

Of B. Zafar (Zafar's name was Ka'b b. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj): Hatib b. 
Umayya b. Rafi'. He was a sturdy old man steeped long in paganism. 
A son of his was one of the best of the Muslims, Yazid by name. He was 
disabled by wounds received at Uhud and was carried to the house of the 
B. Zafar. 

*Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada told me that the Muslims there both men and 
women gathered to him when he was at the point of death and were saying: 
'Rejoice' O son of Hatib, in the thought of paradise!' Then his hypocrisy 
showed itself, for his father said, 'Humph! By God it is a garden of rue. 
You have sent this poor fellow to his death by your deception.' 

Also Buyhayr b. Ubayriq Abu Tu'ma, the 'Stealer of the Two Breast- 
plates' concerning whom God sent down: 'And argue not on behalf of 

1 Sura f). 66. 

The l£f* of Muhammad 245 

those who deceive themselves lod does not love a sinful deceiver." 
Also Quzman, an ally of theirs. 

The same 'Asim told me that the apostle used to say: 'He belongs to the 
people of hell.' At Uhud he fought so valiantly that he killed several 
polythcists. But they severely wounded him and he was carried to the 
quarters of the B. Zafar. The Muslims said, 'Cheer up, O Quzman; you 
have done gallantly today and your sufferings have been for God's sake.' 
He said: 'Why should I cheer up? I fought only to protect my people.' 
And when the pain of his wounds became unendurable he took an arrow 
from his quiver and cut a vein in his hand and thus committed suicide. 

Among B. 'Abdu'I-Ashhal no hypocrite male or female was known 360 
except al-Dahhak b. Thabit, one of the B. Ka'b of the family of Sa'd b. 
Zayd. He was suspected of hypocrisy and love of the Jews. 

Hassan b. Thabit said of him: 2 

Who will tell al-Dahhak that his veins 

Were unable to be glorified in Islam ? 

Do you love the Jews of al-Hijaz and their religion, 

You liver-hearted ass, and not love Muhammad ? 

Their religion will never march with ours 

As long as men roam the open desert. 

I have heard that before his repentance Julas together with Mu'attib, 
Raft', and Bishr used to make false profession of Islam. 3 Some Muslims 
asked them to go to the apostle to settle a matter in dispute between them, 
while they wanted to refer it to the kahins who acted as arbitrators in the 
pagan era. So God sent down concerning them: 'Hast thou considered 
those who allege that they believe in what has been sent down to thee 
and what was sent down before thee who wish to go to idolatry for arbitra- 
tion when they have been commanded to give up belief in it ? Satan wishes 
to lead them far astray.' 4 

Of Khazraj from B. al-Najjar: Ran' b. Wadi'a, Zayd b. 'Amr, *Amr 
b. Qays, and Qays b. 'Amr b. Sahl. 

Of B. Jusham of the clan of B. Salima: al-Jidd b. Qays who said, 'O 
Muhammad, give me leave (to stay at home) and tempt me not.' So God 
sent down concerning him: 'Of them is he who says, Give me leave (to stay 
at home) and tempt me not. Surely it is into temptation that they have 
fallen and hell encompasses the unbelievers.' 5 

Of B. *Auf b. al-Khazraj: 'Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul. He was the 
head of the hypocrites. They used to gather to him and it was he who said, 
If we go back to Medina the stronger will drive out the weaker.' This 
was during the raid on the B. al-Mustaliq and the whole sura of the 

Sura 4. 107. I. II. has omitted much of what Yunus reported from I.I. See Suhayli, 
M - 2 * f - * Dhvdn, p. 34. 

Read yadda una (against both C. and W.) in accord M ith Sura 67. 27 ; and for the mean- 
ing see I^ne. 884a and b. 
« Sura 4. 63. s Sura g- 4Q< 

Hypocrites' came down about him and Wadl'a a man of B. 'Auf and Malik 
b. Abu Qauqal and Suwayd and Da'is of the clan of 'Abdullah b. Ubayy. 
Those were his men who sent secret messages to B. al-Nadir 2 when the 

361 apostle besieged them : 'Stand fast, for by God if you are driven out we will 
go forth with you and we will never obey anyone against you and if you are 
attacked we will help you.' So God sent down concerning them: 'Hast 
thou not considered the hypocrites who say to their brethren of the scrip- 
ture folk, If you are driven out we will go forth with you and we will 
never obey anyone against you and if you are attacked we will help you. 
God bears witness that they are liars', as far as His words 'Like Satan 
when he says to men, "Disbelieve," and when they disbelieve he says, 
"I am not responsible for you; for my part I fear God the Lord of the 
worlds." * 


The following are the Jewish rabbis who took refuge in Islam along with 
the Muslims and hypocritically professed it: Of B. Qaynuqa': Sa'd b. 
Hunayf; Zayd b. al-Lusayt; Nu man b. Aufa b. 'Amr; 'Uthman b. Aufa; 
Zayd b. al-Lusayt who fought with 'Umar in the market of the B. Qay- 
nuqa'. He was the man who said when the apostle's camel wandered 
off: 'Muhammad alleges that revelations come to him from heaven and he 
doesn't know where his camel is!' When the apostle heard of what this 
enemy of God had said and God had told him where his camel was he said, 
'I only know what God lets me know. And God has shown me. It is in 
such-and-such a glen caught by its rope to a tree.' The Muslims went 
and found it in that very spot caught up as the apostle had said. 

Also Ran' b. Huraymila of whom I have heard that the prophet said, 

362 'One of the greatest hypocrites has died today.' And Rifa'a b. Zayd b. 
al-Tabut of whom the prophet said when there was a high wind as he was 
returning from the expedition against the B. al-Mustaliq and the Muslims 
were in great anxiety: 'Don't be afraid; the wind is blowing because a 
great unbeliever is dead.' When he got back to Medina he found that 
Rifa'a had died the day the wind blew. Also Silsila b. Barham and Kinana 
b. Suriya. 

These hypocrites used to assemble in the mosque and listen to the 
stories of the Muslims and laugh and scofT at their religion. When some 
of them 4 were there one day the apostle saw them talking with lowered 
voice among themselves huddled together. He ordered that they should 
be ejected and they were put out with some violence. Abu Ayyub Khalid 
b. Zayd b. Kulayb got up and went to 'Amr b. Qays, one of B. Ghanm 

1 Sura 63. Cf. W. 727 infra. 

2 Cf. W. 653. 10. 3 Sura 59- 

4 It is by no means certain that these men were Jews. The previous section almost cer- 
tainly proves that they were not; however they may well have been half converted to 
Judaism like so many of the inhabitants of Medina. 


The Life of Muhammad 247 

b. Malik b. al-Najjar who was the custodian of their gods during the pagan 
era, took hold of his foot and dragged him outside the mosque, he saying 
meanwhile 'Would you drag me out of the datebarn of the B. Tha'laba!' 
Then he went for RafV b. Wadi'a, one of the B. al-Najjar, gripped him 
by his robe, slapped his face, and dragged him forcibly out of the mosque, 
saying, 'Faugh! you dirty hypocrite! Keep out of the apostle's mosque, 
you hypocrite!' (300). 

'Umara b. Hazm went for Zayd b. 'Amr who had a long beard and seized 
him by it and dragged him violently out of the mosque. Then clenching 
his fists he punched him in the chest and knocked him down, Zayd crying 
the meanwhile, 'You have torn my skin off!' 'God get rid of you, you 
hypocrite,' he answered, 'God has a worse punishment than that in store 
for you, so don't come near the apostle's mosque again!' (301). 

Abu Muhammad Mas'ud b. Aus b. Zayd b. Asram b. Zayd b. Tha'laba 363 
b. Ghanm b. Malik b. al-Najjar (who was at Badr) went for Qays b. 
'Amr b. Sahl who was a youth (the only young man known to have been 
among the hypocrites) and pushed him in the back of the neck until he 
ejected him from the mosque. 

A man of B. al-Khudra b. al-Khazraj of the family of Abu Sa'd called 
'Abdullah b. al-Harith, hearing the order to clear the mosque, went for 
al-Harith b. 'Amr, a man with long hair, and taking a good grip of it he 
dragged him violently the whole way along the floor until he put him 
out, the hypocrite meanwhile saying 'You are very rough, Ibnu'l-Harith.' 
'Serve you right, you enemy of God, for what God has sent down about 
you,' he answered, 'Don't come near the apostle's mosque again, for you 
are unclean.' 

A man of B. 'Amr b. 'Auf went for his brother Zuwayy b. al-Harith 
and put him out violently, saying, 'Faugh! You are doing Satan's work 
for him!' 

These were the hypocrites whom the apostle ordered to be expelled 
from the mosque that day. 


The first hundred verses of the sura of the Cow came down in reference 
to these Jewish rabbis and the hypocrites of Aus and Khazraj, according to 
what I have been told, and God knows best. He said: 'Alif Lam Mlm. 
That is the book wherein there is no doubt.' The word rayb means doubt 


'A guidance to the god-fearing', i.e. those who fear God's punishment 3 6 4 
for abandoning the guidance they recognize, and hope for His mercy 
through believing in what has come to them from Him. 'Who believe 
in the unseen and establish prayer and give out what We have provided 
them with,' i.e. they establish prayer in its prescribed form and pay the 

248 The Life of Muhammad 

poor-tax expecting a (future) reward for it. 'And those who believe in 
what has been sent down to thee and to those who were before thee,' i.e. 
they believe thee to be true in what thou hast brought from God and what 
the sent ones brought before thee, making no difference between them nor 
opposing what they brought from their Lord. 'And are certain of the 
latter end,' i.e. the waking from death, the resurrection, paradise and hell, 
the reckoning and the scales, i.e. these are those who allege that they believe 
in what was before thee and in what has come to thee from thy Lord. 
'These live in guidance from their Lord,' i.e. according to light from their 
Lord and uprightly according to what has come to them. 'These are they 
who prosper,' i.e. who attain what they seek and escape the evil they flee 
from. 'As for those who disbelieve,' i.e. in what has been sent down to 
thee though they say we have long believed in what came to us before thee, 
'it is all one to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them they 
will not believe,' i.e. they disbelieve that thou art mentioned (in the books) 
they have and they reject the covenant which was made with them with 
reference to thee. They disbelieve in what has come to thee and in what 
they have already which others brought to them so how will they listen to 
warning and exhortation from thee when they have denied that they have 
any knowledge of thee? 'God hath sealed their hearts and their hearing 
and over their sight there is a covering,' i.e. so that they will never find 
guidance, meaning : because they have declared you a liar so that they will 
not believe in the truth which has come to thee from thy Lord though they 
believe in all that came before thee. For opposing thee they will have an 
awful punishment. Thus far concerning the Jewish rabbis for calling the 
truth a lie after they knew it. 

'And there are some men who say, We believe in God and the last day 
when they do not believe.' He means the hypocrites of Aus and Khazraj 
and their followers. 'They would deceive God and those who believe, 
but they deceive only themselves, and perceive it not. In their hearts 
is a sickness,' i.e. doubt. 'And God increases their sickness,' i.e. doubt. 
'A painful punishment is theirs because they lie. And when it is said to 
them, 'Do not make mischief in the land they say we are only putting 
things to right,' i.e. we only wish to make peace between the two parties 
of the believers and the scripture folk. God said: 'Are not they indeed the 
mischief makers but they perceive it not ? And when it is said to them, 
Believe as the people believe they say: Are we to believe as the foolish 
believe ? Surely they are the foolish but they know it not. And when they 
meet those who believe they say, We believe ; and when they go apart to 
their leaders," i.e. the Jews who order them to deny the truth and contra- 
dict what the apostle brought, 'They say Certainly we are with you,' i.e. 
we agree entirely with you. 'We were only mocking,' i.e. mocking the 
people and jesting with them. God said: 'God will mock at them and let 
them continue to wander blindly in their error' (303). 

1 Lit. 'their sa tans'. 

The Life of Muhammad 249 

•These are they who buy error at the price of guidance.' i.e. disbelief 
for faith. 'So their traffic is not profitable and they are not rightly guided.' 

Then God employed a simile and said: 'They arc like a man who lights 
a fire and when it lightens his environment God takes away their light and 
leaves them in darkness unable to see,' i.e. they cannot see the truth and 
profess it so that when they go out with it from the darkness of unbelief 
they extinguish it with their unbelief and hypocrisy, and God leaves 
them in the darkness of unbelief and they do not see guidance and are not 
upright in truth. 'Deaf, dumb, blind, and they return not,' i.e. they 
return not to guidance, deaf, dumb, blind to what is good, they return not 
to good and find no escape from their condition. 'Or like a rainstorm from 
heaven wherein is darkness and thunder and lightning. They put their 
fingers in their ears because of the thunderings, in fear of death. God 
encompasses the unbelievers' (304), i.e. because of the darkness of 366 
unbelief and the fear of death in which they are, arising from their opposi- 
tion and fear of you, they are like the man in the rainstorm who puts his 
fingers in his ears at the thunderclaps in fear of death. He says: And 
God brings that vengeance upon them, i.e. He encompasses the un«- 
believers. 'The lightning almost takes away their sight,' i.e. because of the 
exceeding brightness of the truth. 'Whenever it gives light to them they 
walk in it and when it is dark for them they stand still,' i.e. they know the 
truth and talk about it and so far as their talk goes they are on the straight 
path ; but when they relapse from it into infidelity they come to a halt in 
bewilderment. 'And if God willed He could take away their hearing and 
their sight,' i.e. because they have forsaken the truth after they knew it. 
'God is able to do all things.' 

Then He says: 'O men, worship your Lord,' addressing both unbelievers 
and hypocrites, i.e. acknowledge His unity. 'Who created you and those 
before you, perchance you may ward off evil. Who has made the earth a 
bed for you and the heaven a building, and sent down water from heaven 
and has brought forth fruits thereby as food for you. So make not rivals of 
God when you know (better)' (305), i.e. do not associate with God rivals 
which can neither profit nor harm when you know that you have no Lord 
that can feed you other than He, and you know that the monotheism to 
which the apostle calls you is the truth about which there is no doubt. 
'And if you are in doubt about that which We have sent down to our 367 
servant,' i.e. in doubt about what he has brought you, 'then produce a 
sura like it and summon your witnesses other than God,' i.e. whatever 
helpers you can get 'if you are truthful; and if you do not and you cannot' 
for the truth has become clear to you, 'then fear hell whose fuel is men and 
stones 1 prepared for the unbelievers,' i.e. for those who are in a state of 
infidelity like you. 

Then he appeals to their interest and warns them against breaking the 
covenant which He made with them in reference to His prophet when 

1 It is said that the stones were those worshipped by the pagan Arabs. 

250 The Life of Muhammad 

He came to them, and He reminds them of the beginning of their creation 
when He created them, and what happened to their forefather Adam and 
how he was dealt with for his disobedience ; then He says: 1 '0 children of 
Israel,* addressing the Jewish rabbis, 'Remember the favour I showed you,' 
i.e. My care for you and your fathers, wherewith He delivered them from 
Pharaoh and his army. 'And fulfil My covenant' which I placed on your 
necks with regard to My prophet Ahmad when he should come to you. 
'I shall fulfil My part of the covenant.' I shall carry out what I promised 
you for believing in and following him by removing the bonds and chains 
which were upon your necks because of the sins which you had com- 
mitted. 'And stand in awe of Me,' i.e. lest I bring down on you what I 
brought down on your fathers before you— the vengeance that you know of, 
bestial transformation and the like. 'And believe in what I have sent down 
confirming what you already have, and be not the first to disbelieve it' 
seeing that you have knowledge which others have not about it. 'And 
fear Me and do not mingle truth with falsehood nor hide the truth which 
you know,' i.e. do not conceal the knowledge which you have about My 
apostle and what he has brought when you will find it with you in what 
you know of the books which are in your hands. 'W ould you tell men to be 
good and forget to be so yourselves, you being readers of scripture? Do 
you not understand?' i.e. would you forbid men to disbelieve in the 
prophecy you have and the covenant of the Torah and abandon it yourselves ? 
i.e. when you deny that it contains My covenant with you that you must 
pronounce My apostle to be true, and you break My agreement* and you 
contradict what you know to be in My book. 

368 Then He recounts their sins, mentioning the calf and what they did 
with it; how He forgave them and pardoned them; then their words 
'Show us God plainly' (306)-, and how the storm came upon them because 
of their presumptuousness ; then He quickened them after they had died; 
overshadowed them with the cloud, sent down to them manna and quails 
and said to them, 'Enter the gate with prostrations and say Hitta,' 2 i.e. say 
what I command you, and I will remove your sins from you; and their 
changing that word making a mockery of His command ; and His forgiving 
them after their mockery (307). 

With regard to their changing that word, the apostle said according 
to what Salih b. Kaisan from Salih, frccilman of al-Tau'ama d. Umayya 
b. Khalaf from Abu Hurayra and someone above suspicion from Ibn 
'Abbas: They entered the gate they were ordered to enter with prostra- 
tions in a crowd saying, 'Wheat is in the barley' (308). (He also reminded 
them of) Moses praying for water for his people and His commanding 
him to strike the rock with his staff so that the water gushed forth in 

369 twelve streams, one for each tribe to drink from, each tribe knowing the 

1 verse 40. 

2 The meaning of this word (lit. unloading, or relief), and indeed the significance of the 
whole passage, is obscure. Presumably a Jewish midrash lies behind it. Cf. Geiger, op. cit. 17 f- 

The Life of Muhammad 251 

one from which it was to drink. And their saying to Moses, 'We cannot 
bear one kind of food. Pray to your Lord for us that He may bring forth to 
us vegetables which the earth produces such as cucumbers and corn (309) 
and beans and onions. He said: Will you exchange that which is better 
for that which is baser? Go down to Egypt; thus you will get what you 
ask for.' They did not do so. Further how He raised the mountain above 
them 1 that they might receive what was brought to them; and the bestial 
transformation when He made them into apes for their sins; and the cow 
which God showed them in which there was a lesson concerning the slain 
man about whom they differed until God made clear to them his afiair 
after their repeated requests to Moses for a description of the cow; 
further the hardness of their hearts afterwards so that they were harder 
than stone. Then He said: 'There are rocks from which rivers gush forth 
and there are rocks which split asunder and water comes out of them, and 
there are rocks which fall down for fear of God,' i.e. some rocks are softer 
than your hearts in regard to the truth to which you were called. 'And 
God is not unaware of what you do.' 

Then He said to Muhammad and the. believers with him, causing them 
to despair of them: 'Do you hope that they will believe you when there is a 
party of them who listen to the word of God then change it after they 
understand it, doing so knowingly ?' His saying 'They listen to the Torah' 2 
does not mean that they all heard it, but only a party of them, i.e. a selected 
number according to what I was told by a scholar. They said to Moses: 
Something has come between us and the vision of God so let us hear 
His word when He speaks to thee. Moses conveyed the request to God 
who said: Yes, command them to purify themselves or to purify their 
clothing and to fast ; and they did so. Then he brought them forth to the 
mountain, and when the cloud covered them Moses commanded them to 
prostrate themselves and his Lord spoke to him and they heard His voice 
giving them commands and prohibitions so that they understood what they 
heard. Then he went back with them to the Children of Israel and when 
he came to them a party of them changed the commandments they had 
been given; and when Moses said to the Children of Israel, 'God has 
ordered you to do so-and-so,' they contradicted him and said that God 
had ordered something else. It is they to whom God refers. 

Then God said: 'And when they meet those who believe they say: 
We believe,' i.e. in your leader the apostle of God ; but he (has been sent) 
to you alone. And when they go apart with one another they say, Don't 
talk to the Arabs about this for you used to ask for victory over them 
through him and he is of them. So God sent down concerning them: 
'And when they meet those who believe they say, We believe. But when 

1 Cf. Sura 7. 170 and GeiRcr, Was hat Muhammad aus dem Judtnthum aufgenommen? . 
Bonn, 1833, PP. «64 f-. and A. S. Yahuda in Ignace Goldziher Memorial Volume, Pt. I. 
Budapest, 1948, p. 283. 

2 These words are I.I.'s explanation. 'The word of God" just mentioned could only have 
been the Torah. 

252 The Life of Muhammad 

they go apart with one another they say, Will you talk about what God has 
revealed to you that they may contend with you about it before your Lord ? 
Have you no understanding?' i.e. maintain that he is a prophet since you 
know that God has made a covenant with you that you should follow him, 
while he tells you that he is the prophet whom we are expecting and find 
in our book. Oppose him and do not recognize him. God said: 'Do they 
not know that God knows what they conceal and what they proclaim, 
and some of them are gentiles' who do not know the book but merely 
371 recite passages (310). 2 'They only think they know,' i.e. they don't 
know the book and they do not know what is in it, yet they oppose thy 
prophethood on mere opinion. 'And they say the fire will not touch us 
except for a limited time. Say, Have ye received a covenant from God? 
God will not break His covenant — or do you say what you do not know 
about God V 

A freedman of Zayd b. Thabit told me as from 'Ikrima or from Sa'Id 
b. Jubayr from Ibn 'Abbas: The apostle came to Medina when the Jews 
were saying that the world would last for seven thousand years and that 
God would only punish men in hell one day in the next world for every 
thousand in this world. There would be only seven days and then punish- 
ment would cease. So God sent down concerning this saying: 'And they 
say, The fire will not touch us except for a limited time. Say, Have ye 
received a covenant from God? God will not break His covenant— or do 
you say what you do not know about God ? Nay whoso docs evil and his sin 
encompasses him,' i.e. he who docs as you do and disbelieves as you 
disbelieve, his unbelief encompasses the good he has acquired with God. 
'They are the people of hell; they will be there eternally,' i.e. for ever. 
'And those who do good, they are the people of paradise ; they will be there 
eternally,' i.e. those who believe in what you deny and do what you have 
left undone of His religion. They shall have paradise for ever. He 
tells them that the recompense for good and evil is eternal: it will never 

Then He said in blaming them, 'And when We made a covenant with the 
children of Israel,' i.e. your covenant. 'Worship none but God, show- 
kindness to parents and to near relatives, and to orphans and the poor, 
and speak kindly to men, and establish prayer and pay the poor-tax, 
then you turned your backs except a few of you, being averse." i.e. vou 
abandoned all that-nothing less. 'And when we made a covenant with 

1 This word ummi is generally translated 'illiterate'. In Sura 7. 157 and 158 Muhammad 
calls himself 'the gentile prophet'; but practically all Arab writers claim that he meunt that 
he could not read or write (see, e.g., Pickthall's translation). Geigcr, op. cit. 26 f., was, I 
think, the first to point out the only possible derivation of the word, and he has been followed 
by every subsequent European Arabist. But this passage brings to light the fact that he was 
preceded by these two early traditionists who identified the ummiyun as Arab proselytes who 
did not themselves know the scriptures. 

1 That is to say these Arabs cannot read the sacred books, but they can join in the Jewish 
liturgy reciting the pravers and responses. 

1 v. 77- 

The Life of Muhammad 253 

you, Shed not your blood' (311). 1 'And do not turn (some of) your people 1 
out of your dwellings. Then ye ratified it and you are witnesses thereof,' 37a 
i.e. that My covenant condition truly binds you. 'Then you are they who 
kill your people and drive some of them from their houses, supporting 
one another against them by crime and transgression,' i.c the polytheists, 
so that they shed their blood along with them and drive them from their 
houses along with them. 'And if they came to you as prisoners you would 
ransom them' knowing that that is incumbent upon you in your religion, 
'while their expulsion is forbidden to you' in your scripture. 'Will you 
believe in a part of the scripture and disbelieve in another part?' i.e. 
will you ransom them believing in one part and expel them disbelieving in 
another part? 'And what is the recompense of those of you who do that 
but shame in this world and on the day of resurrection they will be sent to 
the severest punishment. For God is not unaware of what you are doing. 
These are they who buy this life at the price of the next life. Their punish- 
ment will not be lightened nor will they be helped.' Thus God blamed 
them for what they were doing, He having in the Torah prohibited 
them from shedding each other's blood and charged them to redeem 
their prisoners. 

There were two parties: The B. Qaynuqa' and their adherents, allies of 
Khazraj; and al-Nadir and Qurayza and their adherents allies of Aus. 
When there was war between A" * and Khazraj the B. QaynuqS' went out 
with Khazraj, and al-Nadir and Qurayza with Aus, each side helping his 
allies against his own brethren so that they shed each other's blood, while 
the Torah was in their hands by which they knew what was allowed and 
what was forbidden them. Aus and Khazraj were polytheists worshipping 373 
idols knowing nothing about paradise and hell, the waking and the resur- 
rection, the scriptures, the permitted and the forbidden. When the war 
came to an end they ransomed their prisoners in accordance with the Torah 
each side redeeming those of their men who had been captured by the 
other side, disregarding the bloodshed that had been incurred in helping 
the polytheists. God said in blaming them for that: 'Will you believe in a 
part of the scripture and disbelieve in another part?' i.e. would you 
redeem him in accordance with the Torah and kill him when the Torah 
forbids you to do so, killing him and driving him out of his house and 
helping the polytheist who worships idols instead of God against him, all 
for the sake of this world's gain ? According to my information this passage 
came down with reference to their behaviour with Aus and Khazraj. 

He continued: *Wc gave Moses the scripture and We sent apostles after 
him and \\ r c gave Jesus, Son of Mary, the clear proofs,' i.e. the signs which 
were wrought bv Him in raising the dead; forming the likeness of birds 
from clay and then breathing into them so that they became birds by 
God's permission ■ healing the sick ; and news of many hidden things which 

1 Your Hood and yourselves because in ancient Semitic thou K ht the tribe was one blood 
and had as it were one personality. 

254 The Life of Muhammad 

they stored in their houses; and His confuting them from the Torah and 
the Gospel which God had created for Him.' Then he mentions their 
disbelief in all that and says: 'Is it that whenever there comes to you an 
apostle with what you do not like you act arrogantly ; some you declare 
liars and some you put to death?' Then he says: 'And they said, Our 
hearts are uncircumcised,' i.e. in coverings. 'Nay, but God has cursed 
them for their unbelief. Little do they believe. And when a scripture 
comes to them from God confirming what they already have, though 
before that they w ere asking for a victory over the unbelievers, when there 
comes to them what they know they deny it. God's curse is on the un- 

'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada told me that shaykhs of his people said: 
This passage came down about us and them. We had got the better of 
them in the pagan era, we being polytheists and they scripture folk. They 
374 used to say to us, 'Soon a prophet will be sent whom we shall follow; his 
time is at hand. With his help we shall kill you like 'Ad and Iram.' And 
when God sent His apostle from Quraysh and we followed him they 
denied him. God said: 'And when there comes to them what they know 
they deny it. God's curse is on the unbelievers. Wretched is that for 
which they sell themselves in disbelieving in what God has sent down, 
grudging that God should send dow n of His bounty upon whom He will of 
His servants,' i.e. that He should have given it to one who was not of them. 
'They have incurred anger upon anger and for the unbelievers there is a 
shameful punishment' (312). 

The double anger is His anger at what they have disregarded of the 
Torah which they had and His anger at their disbelieving in this prophet 
whom God had sent to them. 2 Then He told them oP the raising of the 
mountain above them and their taking the calf as a god instead of their 
Lord. God then said: 'Say, If the last dwelling with God is for you alone 
excluding others, then long for death if you are truthful,' i.e. pray for 
death to which of the two parties is most false with God. And they 
refused the apostle's suggestion. God said to His prophet: 'They will 
never long for it because of what their hands have sent before them,' 4 
i.e. because they know about thee by the knowledge which they have 
and deny it, It is said that if they had longed for it the day he said that to 
them, not a single Jew would have remained on the earth but would have 
died. Then He mentions their lov e of this life and of a long life and God 
said: 'Thou wilt find them the most eager of men for life', the Jews, 'even 
more than the polytheists; each one would like to live a thousand years 
and to be allowed to live long would not remove him from the punishment,' 
i.e. it would not deliver him from it. The reason is that the polytheist 

1 Ahdatha ilayhi. Apparently this is a pregnant construction meaning 'created and sent 
to him '- t 1 Ahdatha i lay Inn,. 

1 The text of W. and C. annabahum 'Named them' viclds no suitable meaning. The true 
text is given in VV.'s notes, ii. in, anba'ahum. I owe this correction to Dr. Arafat. 

■ '.c. thejr past deeds. 

The Life of Muhammad 255 

does not hope for raising after death so he wants to live long, and the Jew 
knows what awaits him of shame in the next life because he has wasted the 
knowledge that he has. Then God said : 'Say, Who is an enemy to Gabriel ? 
For it is he who brought it down to thy heart by God's permission.' 

'Abdullah b. 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. AbQ Husayn al-Makki told me from 375 
Shahr b. Haushab al-Ash'ari that a number of Jewish rabbis came to the 
apostle and asked him to answer four questions, saying that if he did so 
they would follow him and testify to his truth, and believe in him. Fie 
got them to swear a solemn oath that if he gave them the right answers 
they would acknowledge his truth and they began: 'Why does a boy 
resemble his mother when the semen comes from the man?' 'I adjure 
you by God and His favours towards the children of Israel, 1 do you not 
know that a man's semen is white and thick while a woman's is yellow and 
thin, and the likeness goes with that which comes to the top ?' 4 Agreed,* 
they said. 'Tell us about your sleep.' 'Do you not know that a sleep which 
you allege I do not have is when the eye sleeps but the heart is awake?' 
'Agreed.' 'Thus is my sleep. My eye sleeps but my heart is awake.' 'Tell 
us about what Israel voluntarily forbade himself.' 'Do you not know that 
the food he loved best was the flesh and milk of camels and that once when 
he was ill God restored him to health so he deprived himself of his favourite 
food and drink in gratitude to God?' 'Agreed. Tell us about the Spirit.' 
'Do you not know that it is Gabriel, he who comes to me?' 'Agreed, but 
O Muhammad he is an enemy to us, an angel who comes only with 
violence and the shedding of blood, and were it not for that we would 
follow you.' So God sent down concerning them: 'Who is an enemy to 
Gabriel ? For it is he who brought it down to thy heart by God's permis- 
sion confirming what was before it and a guidance and good tidings to the 
believers' as far as the words 'Is it not that when they make a covenant some 
of them set it aside, nay most of them do not believe. And when an apostle 376 
comes to them from God confirming that which they have, some of them 
who have received the scripture, the book of God, put it behind them as if 
they did not know it and they follow that which the satans read concerning 
the kingdom of Solomon,' i.e. sorcery. 'Solomon did not disbelieve, but 
the satans disbelieved, teaching men sorcery.' 2 

This, so I have heard, happened when the apostle mentioned Solomon 
b. David among the sent ones. One of the rabbis said, 'Don't you wonder 
at Muhammad? He alleges that Solomon was a prophet, and by God he 
was nothing but a sorcerer.' So God sent down concerning that : 'Solomon 
did not disbelieve but the satans disbelieved,' i.e. in following sorcery 
and practising it. 'And that which was revealed to the two angels Harut and 
Mariit in Babylon and they taught nobody.' 

Someone above suspicion told me from 'Ikrima from Ibn 'Abbas that he 
used to say: 'What Israel forbade himself was the two lobes of the liver, 

1 This formula is repeated four times. 

2 v. 94- 

256 The Life of Muhammad 

the kidneys and the fat (except what was upon the hack), for that used to be 
offered in sacrifice and the fire consumed it.' 1 

The apostle wrote to the Jews of Khaybar according to what a freedman 
of the family of Zayd b. Thabit told me from 'Ikrima or from Sa'Id b. 
Jubayr from Ibn 'Abbas: 'In the name of God the compassionate the 
merciful from Muhammad the apostle of God friend and brother of 
Moses who confirms what Moses brought. God says to you, O scripture 
folk, and you will find it in your scripture "Muhammad is the apostle of 
God; and those with him are severe against the unbelievers, merciful 
among themselves. Thou seest them bowing, falling prostrate seeking 
bounty and acceptance from God. The mark of their prostrations is on their 
foreheads. That is their likeness in the Torah and in the Gospel like a 
seed which sends forth its shoot and strengthens it and it becomes thick 
and rises straight upon its stalk delighting the sowers that He may anger the 
unbelievers with them. God has promised those who believe and do well 
forgiveness and a great reward." 2 I adjure you by God, and by what 
He has sent down to you, by the manna and quails He gave as food to your 
tribes before you, and by His drying up the sea for your fathers when 
He delivered them from Pharaoh and his works, that you tell me, Do 

377 you find in what He has sent down to you that you should believe in 
Muhammad ? If you do not find that in your scripture then there is no 
compulsion upon you. "The right path has become plainly distinguished 
from error" 3 so I call you to God and His prophet' (313). 

Among those people concerning whom the Quran came down, especially 
the rabbis and unbelieving Jews who used to ask him questions and annoy 
him in confusing truth with falsehood — as I was told on the authority of 
'Abdullah b. 'Abbas and Jabir b. 'Abdullah b. Ri'ab— was Abu Yasir b. 
Akhtab who passed by the apostle as he was reciting the opening words of 
The Cow: 'Alif, Lam, Mim, That is the book about which there is no 
doubt.' He came to his brother Huyayy who was with some other Jews 
and said: 'Do you know that I have heard Muhammad reciting in what has 
been sent down to him Alif Lam Mim, &c?' After expressing surprise 
Huyayy and these men went to the apostle and told him what had been 
reported to them and asked if Gabriel had brought the message from God. 
When he said that he had they said: God sent prophets before you but we 
do not know of anyone of them being told how long his kingdom would 
last and how long his community would last. Huyayy went up to his men 
and said to them: 'Alif is 1 ; Lam is 30; and Mim is 40, i.e. 71 years. Are 
you going to adopt a religion whose kingdom and community will last 

378 for only 71 years?' Then he went to the apostle and said, 'Have you any- 
thing else, Muhammad ?' 'Yes, Alif Lam Mim Sad.' 'This by God is 
more weighty and longer: Alif 1 ; Lam 30; Mim 40, Sad 90, i.e. 161 years.' 

This is the sacrificial law Riven in Leviticus 3, 4, 10, 15, &c, and the tradition shows a 
remarkable knowledge of the Jewish Law. 

2 Sura 48. 29. 3 SOra 2< 25?> 

The Life of Muhammad 257 

Similar questions were asked and answered in respect of Alif Lam Ra 231 ; 
Alif Lam Mim Ra 271 ; then he said, 'Your situation seems obscure to us, 
Muhammad, so that we do not know whether you will have a short or 
long duration.' Then they left him. Abu Yasir said to his brother Huyayy 
and the others, 'How do you know that all these totals should not be added 
together to make a grand total of 734 years?' They answered, 'His affair 
is obscure to us.' They allege that these verses came down in reference to 
them: 'The plain verses arc the mother of the Book; the rest are obscure.' 1 

I heard a scholar above suspicion mentioning that these verses were sent 
down about the people of Najran when they came to the apostle to ask 
him about Jesus, Son of Mary. 

Muhammad b. Abu Umama b. Sahl b. Hunayf told me that he had heard 
that they were sent down about a number of Jews, but he did not explain 
that to me. God knows best. 

According to what I heard from 'Ikrima, freedman of Ibn 'Abbas or 
from Sa'id b. Jubayr from Ibn 'Abbas, Jews used to hope that the 
apostle would be a help to them against Aus and Khazraj before his mission 
began ; and when God sent him from among the Arabs they disbelieved 
in him and contradicted what they had formerly said about him. 2 Mu'adh 
b. Jabal and Bishr b. al-Bara' b. Ma'rur brother of the B. Salama said to 
them: "O Jews, fear God and become Muslims, for you used to hope for 
Muhammad's help against us when we were polytheists and to tell us that 
he would be sent and describe him to us.' Salam b. Mishkam, one of B. 
al-Nadlr, said, 'He has not brought us anything we recognize and he is 
not the one we spoke of to you.' So God sent down about that saying of 
theirs: 'And when a book comes to them from God confirming what they 
have, though beforehand they were asking for help against those who 
disbelieve, when there came to them what they knew, they disbelieved in 
it, so God's curse rests on the unbelievers.' 3 

Malik b. al-Sayf 4 said when the apostle had been sent and they were 
reminded of the condition that had been imposed on them and what God 
had covenanted with them concerning him, 'No covenant was ever made 
with us about Muhammad.' So God sent down concerning him: 'Is it not 
that whenever they make a covenant a party of them set it aside ? Nay most 
of them do not believe.' 5 

Abu SalGba al-Fi|yuni said to the apostle: 'O Muhammad, you have 
not brought us anything we recognize, and God has not sent down to you 
any sign that we should follow you.' So God sent down concerning his 
words, 'We have sent down to thee plain signs and only evildoers dis- 
believe in them.' 

Rafi' b. Huraymila and Wahb b. Zayd said to the apostle, 'Bring us a 

' Sura 3. 5. 

1 This and similar passages seem to indicate that the messianic hope wa» strong among 
the Jews. J Sura 2. 83. 

4 Or al-Payf. v.s. * Sura a. 04. 

B 4080 

258 The Life of Muhammad 

book; bring it down to us from heaven that we may read it; bring out 
rivers for us from the earth, then we will follow you and believe in you.' 
So God sent down concerning that: 'Or do you wish to question your 
apostle as Moses was questioned aforetime; he who exchanges faith for 
unbelief has wandered from the straight road' (314).' 

Huyayy and Abu Yasir were the most implacable enemies of the Arabs 
when God chose to send them an apostle from among themselves and they 

380 used to do all they could to turn men away from Islam. So God sent down 
concerning them: 'Many of the scripture folk wish to make you unbelievers 
again after you have believed being envious on their own account after the 
truth has become plain to them. But forgive and be indulgent until God 
shall give you His orders. God can do anything.' 2 

When the Christians of Najran came to the apostle the Jewish rabbis 
came also and they disputed one with the other before the apostle. Rafi' 
said, 'You have no standing,' and he denied Jesus and the Gospel; and a 
Christian said to the Jews, 'You have no standing' and he denied that 
Moses was a prophet and denied the Torah. So God sent down concerning 
them: 'The Jews say the Christians have no standing; and the Christians 
say that Jews have no standing, yet they read the scriptures. They do not 
know what they are talking about. God will judge between them on the 
day of resurrection concerning their controversy,' i.e. each one reads in his 
book the confirmation of what he denies, so that the Jews deny Jesus 
though they have the Torah in which God required them by the word of 
Moses to hold Jesus true; while in the Gospel is what Jesus brought in 
confirmation of Moses and the Torah he brought from God: so each one 
denies what is in the hand of the other. 

Rafi* said: 'If you are an apostle from God as you say, then ask God to 
speak to us so that we may hear His voice.' So God revealed concerning 
that: 'And those who do not know say, Why does not God speak to us or a 
sign come to us ? Those who were before them said the same. Their minds 
are just the same. We have made the signs clear to a people who are sure.' 

'Abdullah b. Suriya, the one-eyed man, said to the apostle, 'The only 
guidance is to be found with us, so follow us, Muhammad, and you will 

381 be rightly guided.' The Christians said the same. So God sent down 
concerning them both: 'And they say, Be Jews or Christians then you 
will be rightly guided. Say, Nay, the religion of Abraham a hanif who was 
no polytheist,' as far as the words 'Those are a people who have passed 
away ; they have what they earned and you have what you have earned and 
you will not be asked about what they used to do.' 3 

And when the qibla was changed from Syria to the Ka'ba— it was 
changed in Rajab at the beginning of the seventeenth month after the 
apostle's arrival in Medina — Rifa'a b. Qays; Qardam b. 'Amr; Ka'b b. 
al-Ashraf ; Rafi* b. Abu Rafi'; al-Hajjaj b. 'Amr, an ally of Ka'b's; al-Rabi 

3 Sura 129-36, i.e. 'You are not responsible.* 

The Life of Muhammad 259 

b. al-Rabl' b. Ahii'l-Huqayq; and Kinana b. al-Rabl' b. Abu'l-Huqayq 
came to the apostle asking why he had turned his back ori the qibla he 
used to face when he alleged that he followed the religion of Abraham. If 
he would return to the qibla in Jerusalem they would follow him and declare 
him to be true. Their sole intention was to seduce him from his religion, 
so God sent down concerning them: 'The foolish people will say: What 
made them turn their back on the qibla that they formerly observed? 
Say, To God belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He will to the 
straight path. Thus we have made you a central community that you may 
be witnesses against men and that the apostle may be a witness against 
you. And we appointed the qibla which thou didst formerly observe only 
that we might know who will follow the apostle from him who turns upon 
his heels,' i.e. to test and find them out. 'Truly it was a hard test except for 
those whom God guided,* i.e. a temptation, i.e. those whom Allah estab- 
lished. 'It was not Allah's purpose to make your faith vain,' i.e. your faith 
in the first qibla, your believing your prophet, and your following him to 
the later qibla and your obeying your prophet therein, i.e. so that he may give 
you the reward of both of them. 'God is kind and compassionate to men.' 

Then God said, 'We sometimes see thee turning thy face towards 
heaven and We will make thee turn towards a qibla which will please thee ; 
so turn thy face towards the sacred mosque and wherever you are turn 
your faces towards it' (315). 'Those who have received the scripture know 382 
that it is the truth from their Lord, and God is not unmindful of what they 
do. If thou didst bring to those who have the scripture every sign they 
would not follow thy qibla and thou wouldst not follow their qibla nor 
would some of them follow the qibla of others. If thou shouldst follow 
their desires after the knowledge which has come to thee then thou 
wouldst be an evildoer,' as far as the words 'It is the truth from thy Lord 
so be not of the doubters.' 1 

Mu'adh b. Jabal and Sa'd b. Mu'adh brother of B. 'Abdu'l-Ashhal, and 
Kharija b. Zayd brother of B. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj, asked some of the 
Jewish rabbis about something in the Torah and they concealed it from 
them and refused to tell them anything about it. So God sent down about 
them : 'Those who conceal the proofs and guidance We have sent down after 
We have made it plain to men in the book, God will curse them and those 
who curse will curse them.' 

The apostle summoned the Jewish scripture folk to Islam and made it 
attractive to them and warned them of God's punishment and vengeance. 
Raft' b. Kharija and Malik b. 'Auf said to him that they would follow the 
religion of their fathers, for they were more learned and better men than 
they. So God sent down concerning their words: 'And when it is said to 
them, Follow what God has sent down, they say: Nay, but we will follow 383 
what we found our fathers doing. What! even if their fathers understood 
nothing and were not rightly guided?* 

1 Sura 2. 140-2. 

2 6o The Life of Muhammad 

When God smote Quraysh at Badr, the apostle assembled the Jews in the 
market of the B. Qaynuqa' when he came to Medina and called on them to 
accept Islam before God should treat them as he had treated Quraysh. 
They answered, 'Don't deceive yourself, Muhammad. You have killed a 
number of inexperienced Quraysh who did not know how to fight. But 
if you fight us you will learn that we are men and that you have met your 
equal.' So God sent down concerning their words: 'Say to those who 
disbelieve, You will be defeated and gathered into hell, a wretched resting- 
place. You had a sign in the two parties which met: one party fought in the 
way of God and the other was unbelieving seeing twice their number with 
their very eyes. God will strengthen with His help whom He will. In that 
there is a warning for the observant.' 1 

The apostle entered a Jewish school where there was a number of Jews 
and called them to God. Al-Nu'man b. 'Amr and al-Harith b. Zayd said 
to him: 

'What is your religion, Muhammad? 

'The religion of Abraham.' 

'But Abraham was a Jew.' 

'Then let the Torah judge between us.* 

They refused, and so God sent down concerning theni: 'Hast thou not 
seen how those who have received a portion of scripture when invited to 
God's book that it may judge between them, a party of them turn their 
backs in opposition. That is because they say, The fire will not touch us 
except for a limited time. What they were inventing has deceived them in 
their religion.' 

The Jewish rabbis and the Christians of Najran, when they were together 
384 before the apostle, broke into disputing. The rabbis said that Abraham 
was nothing but a Jew. The Christians said he was nothing but a Christian ; 
so God revealed concerning them: 'O Scripture folk, Why do you argue 
about Abraham when the Torah and the Gospel were not sent down until 
after his time? Can it be that you do not understand? Behold, you are 
they who argue of what you know something, but why do you argue 
about what you know nothing ? God knows but you do not know. Abraham 
was neither a Jew nor a Christian but he was a Muslim hanif and he was 
not a polytheist. Those who are the nearest to Abraham are those who 
follow him and this prophet and those who believe, God being the friend of 

believers.' 2 , » t j 

'Abdullah b. Sayf and 'Adiv b. Zayd and al-Hanth b. Auf agreed 
among themselves that they should affect to believe in what had been sent 
down to Muhammad and his companions at one time and deny it at another 
so as to confuse them, with the object of getting them to follow their 
example and give up his religion. So God sent down concerning them: 
*0 Scripture folk, why confuse ye the true with the false and conceal the 
truth which you know? Some of the Scripture folk said, Believe m that 

• Sura 3. .0. * Sur « 3- 58. 

The Life of Muhammad 261 

which has been sent down to those that believe at the beginning of the 
day and deny it at the end of the day ; perhaps they will go back (on it). 
Believe only in one who follows your religion. Say, The guidance is 
God's guidance that anyone should be given the like of what you have 
been given or that they may argue with you before their Lord. Say: the 
bounty is in the hand of God. He giveth it to whom he pleases and God is 
all-embracing and all-knowing.' 1 

Abu Rafi' al-Qurazi said when the rabbis and the Christians from 
Najran had assembled before the apostle and he invited them to Islam, 
'Do you want us, Muhammad, to worship you as the Christians worship 
Jesus, Son of Mary?' One of the Christians called al-Ribbis (or al-Ris or 
al-Ra'is) said, 4 Is that what you want of us and invite us to, Muhammad?' 
or words to that effect. The apostle replied, 'God forbid that I should 
worship anyone but God or order that any but He should be worshipped. 
God did not send me and order me to do that' or words to that effect. So 
God sent down concerning their words: 'No mortal to whom God has 
sent a book and authority and prophecy could say to men.Worship me 
instead of God ; but Be learned in that you teach the book and in that you 
study it' as far as the words 'after ye had become Muslims' (316). 2 

'And he did not command you to take the angels and prophets as 385 
lords. Would He command you to disbelieve after you had become 
Muslims ?' 

Then he mentions how God had imposed on them and on their prophets 
the obligation to bear witness to his truth when he came to them and their 
taking that upon themselves and he says: 'When God made His covenant 
with the prophets (He said) Behold that which I have given you— a book 
and wisdom. Then when an apostle shall come to you confirming what 
you have, you shall believe in him and help him. He said, Do you agree 
and take upon yourselves my burden ? They answered, We agree. He said, 
Then bear witness, I being with you as a witness' to the end of the passage. 

Shas b. Qays, who was an old man hardened in unbelief and most 
bitter against the Muslims and exceeding envious of them, passed by a 
number of the apostle's companions from Aus and Khazraj in a meeting 
while they were talking together. When he saw their amity and unity and 
their happy relations in Islam after their enmity in pagan times he was 
filled with rage and said: 'The chiefs of B. Qayla in this country having 
united there will be no firm place for us with them.' So he gave orders to a 
Jewish youth who was with them to go to them and sit with them and 
mention the battle of Bu'ath and the preceding events, and recite to them 
some of the poetry composed by each side. 

Now at the battle of Bu'ath Aus and Khazraj fought and the victory 
went to Aus who were commanded at the time by Hudayr b. Simak 386 
al-Ashhali the father of Usayd b. Hudayr, Khazraj being led by 'Amr b. al- 
Nu'man al-Bayadi, and both were killed (317). 

I Sura 3. 64. 1 Sura 3. 73. 

262 The Life of Muhammad 

The youth did so. Thereupon the people began to talk and to quarrel 
and to boast until two men of the two clans leapt up, Aus b. Qayzl of B. 
Haritha b. Harith of Aus and Jabbar b. Sakhr of B. Salama of Khazraj. 
They began to hold forth against each other until one of them said, 'If 
you wish we will do the same again.' Thereupon both sides became enraged 
and said, 'We will. Your meeting-place is outside — that being the volcanic 
tract — To arms! To arms I' So out they went and when the news reached 
the apostle he went out with such of the emigrants as were with him and 
said to them: 'O Muslims, remember God. Remember God. Will you 
act as pagans while I am with you after God has guided you to Islam and 
honoured you thereby and made a clean break with paganism ; delivered 
you thereby from unbelief; made you friends thereby?' Then the people 
realized that the dissension was due to Satan and the guile of their enemy. 
They wept and the men of Aus and Khazraj embraced one another. Then 
they went off with the apostle, attentive and obedient, God having 
quenched the' guile of the enemy of God Shas b. Qays. So God sent down 
concerning him, and what he did: 'Say: O Scripture folk, why do you deny 
God's signs while God is witness of what you do ? Say, O Scripture folk, 

387 why do you keep those who believe from God's way wishing to make it 
crooked when you are witnesses and God is not unmindful of what you 
are doing?' 1 

God sent down concerning Aus and Jabb§r and the people who were 
with them when Shas brought back for a moment the atmosphere of 
pagan days, 'O you who believe, if you obey some of those to whom a 
book has been given they will make you unbelievers again after your 
faith. How can you disbelieve when God's verses are read to you and His 
apostle is with you ? He who holds fast to God is guided to a straight path. 
O ye who believe, fear God as He ought to be feared and die not except as 
Muslims' as far as the words 'Those shall have a painful punishment*. 

When Abdullah b. Salam, ThaMaba b. Sa'ya, and Usayd b. Sa'ya, and 
Asad b. 'Ubayd and other Jews became Muslims and believed and were 
earnest and firm in Islam, the rabbis who disbelieved said that it was only 
the bad Jews who believed in Muhammad and followed him. Had they 
been good men they would not have forsaken the religion of their fathers 
and adopted another. So God sent down concerning what they had said : 
'They are not (all) alike: of the scripture folk there is an upright community 
who read God's verses in the night season prostrating themselves (318).* 
They believe in God and the last day and enjoin good conduct and forbid 
evil and vie with one another in good works. Those are the righteous.' 

Some Muslims remained friends with the Jews because of the tie of 
mutual protection and alliance which had subsisted between them, so 
God sent down concerning them and forbidding them to take them as 

388 intimate friends: 'O you who believe, do not choose those outside your 
community as intimate friends. They will spare no pains to corrupt you 

" Sum 3. 93 * v - ,0 9- 

The Life of Muhammad 263 

longing for your ruin. From their mouths hatred has already shown itself 
and what their breasts conceal is greater. We have made the signs plain 
to you if you will understand. Behold you love them but they love not 
you and you believe in the book— all of it," i.e. you believe in their book 
and in the books that were before that while they deny your book, so that 
you have more right to hate them than they to hate you. 'And when they 
meet you they say, We believe and when they go apart they bite their 
fingers against you in rage. Say, Die in your rage', &c. 

Abu Bakr went into a Jewish school and found a good many men gathered 
round a certain Finhas, one of their learned rabbis, and another rabbi 
called Ashy a*. Abu Bakr called on the former to fear God and become a 
Muslim because he knew that Muhammad was the apostle of God who 
had brought the truth from Him and that they would find it written in the 
Torah and the Gospel. Finhas replied: 'We are not poor compared to 
Allah but He is poor compared to us. We do not humble ourselves to 
Him as He humbles Himself to us; we are independent of Him while He 
needs us. Were He independent of us He would not ask us to lend Him 
our money as your master pretends, prohibiting you to take interest and 
allowing us to. Had He been independent of us He would not have given 

us interest.'* . 

Abu Bakr was enraged and hit Finhas hard m the face, saying, Were 
it not for the treaty between us I would cut off your head, you enemy of 
Allah!' Finhas immediately went to the apostle and said, 'Look, Muham- 
mad, at what' your companion has done.' The apostle asked Abu Bakr 
what had impelled him to do such a thing and he answered: 'The enemy 
of Allah spoke blasphemy. He alleged that Allah was poor and that they 389 
were rich and I was so angry that I hit his face.' Finhas contradicted this 
and denied that he had said it, so Allah sont down refuting him and con- 
firming what Abu Bakr had said : 'Allah has heard the speech of those who 
say: "Allah is poor and we are rich.'' We shall write what they say and 
their killing the prophets wrongfully and we shall say, Taste the punish- 
ment of burning.' 3 

And there came down concerning Abu Bakr and the anger that he felt: 
'And you will certainly hear from those who received the book before you 
and from the polytheists much wrong but if you persevere and fear God 
that is of the steadfastness of things.' 

Then He said concerning what FinhSs and the other rabbis with him 
said: 'And when God laid a charge upon those who had received the book: 
You are to make it clear to men and not to conceal it, they cast it behind 

2 Theke^w 'this seemingly blasphemous utterance is in the words 'as your master pre- 
tends'. Later Muslim scholars would have called it an ilxam, a form of the argumtntum ad 
absurdum in which an opponent's proposition is adopted and followed to its (absurd) conclu- 
sion. The Jews had objected to contribuung to the cost of the war against the Meccans 
saying that if God needed their money as the apostle said they must be better off than He! 

> Sura 3. 177. 

264 The Life of Muhammad 

their backs and sold it for a small price. Wretched is the exchange! 
Think not that those who rejoice in what they have done and want to be 
praised for what they have not done — think not that they will escape the 
punishment: theirs will be a painful punishment.' 1 He means Finhas 
and Ashya' and the rabbis like them who rejoice in what they enjoy of 
worldly things by making error attractive to men and wish to be praised 
for what they have not done so that men will say they are learned when they 
are nothing of the kind, not bringing them to truth and guidance and 
wanting men to say that they have so done. 

Kardam, Usama, Nafi', Bahrl, Huyayy, and Rifa'a 2 used to go to some 
of the helpers advising them not to contribute to the public expenses, 
'for we fear that you will come to poverty. Don't be in a hurry to contri- 
390 bute, for you do not know the outcome.' So God sent down concerning 
them: 'Who are avaricious and enjoin avarice on others concealing the 
bounty they have received from God', i.e. the Torah which confirms what 
Muhammad brought. 3 'We have prepared for the unbelievers a shameful 
punishment, and those who spend their money to be seen of men and 
believe not in God and the last day' as far as the words 'God knows about 

Rifa'a was a notable Jew. When he spoke to the apostle he twisted his 
tongue and said: 'Give us your attention, Muhammad, so that we can 
make you understand.-' Then he attacked Islam and reviled it. So God 
sent down concerning him: 'Hast thou considered those to whom a part 
of the book has been given how they buy error and wish that you should 
err as to the way. But God knows best about your enemies. God is 
sufficient as a friend and helper. Some of the Jews change words from 
their contexts and say: We hear and disobey ; hear thou as one that heareth 
not and listen to us, twisting their tongues and attacking religion. Had they 
said, We hear and we obey; hear thou and look at us, it would have been 
better for them and more upright. But God has cursed them for their 
unbelief and only a few will believe.' 4 

The apostle spoke to two of the chiefs of the Jewish rabbis 'Abdullah 
b. Suriya al-A'war and Ka'b b. Asad calling on them to accept Islam, 
for they knew that he had brought them the truth ; but they denied that 
they knew it and were obstinate in their unbelief. So God sent down 
concerning them: 'O you to whom the book was sent, Believe in what 
We have sent down in confirmation of what you have before We efface 

1 v. 184. 

1 Their names have already been given in full. 

3 One would naturally suppose that their wealth is referred to here. 

4 Sura 4. 47. This text shows that Muhammad knew (a) that when they said 'We hear' 
and 'asaynd they were playing on the similar-sounding Hebrew word asinu (with sin) mean- 
ing 'we carry out', and (6) that rd'ina to them meant 'our evil one'. It seems, therefore, 
probable that ghayra musma'in is not to be understood in the sense given above, but as a 
vocative, 'O thou that hast not been made to hear", i.e. thou who hast not received a divine 
revelation. The 'tongue-twisting' is revealed as the sarcastic use of Arabic in a Hebrew 
sense by a bilingual scholar. 

The Life of Muhammad 

(your) features and turn them back to front or curse you as We cursed the 
sabbath-breakers when God's command was carried out' 1 (319). 

And those who formed parties of Quraysh and Ghatafan and B. Qurayza 391 
were Huyayy and Sallam and Abu Rafi' and al-Rabi' and Abu 'Ammar and 
Wahwah b. 'Amir, and Haudha b. Qays, the latter three being of B. 
Wa'il while the rest were of B. al-Nadir. When they came to Quraysh 
they told them that these were Jewish rabbis, the folk who possessed the 
first (sacred) book, and they could ask them whether their religion or that 
of Muhammad was the better. When they did ask them they answered : 
'Your religion is better than his and you are on a better path than he and 
those who follow him.' So God sent down concerning them: 'Hast thou 
considered those to whom a part of the book has been sent how they 
believe in al-Jibt and al-Taghut? (320). And they say of those who 
disbelieve: These are better guided to the right path than those who 
believe' as far as the words 'or are they envious of men because God has 
given them of His bounty. We gave the family of Abraham the book 
and wisdom and We gave them a great kingdom.' 2 392 

Sukayn and 'Adly b. Zayd said: 'O Muhammad, we do not know of 
God's having sent down to mortals anything after Moses.' So God sent 
down concerning their words: 'We have revealed unto thee as we revealed 
unto Noah and the prophets after him, and we revealed unto Abraham 
and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes and Jesus and Job and 
Jonah and Aaron and Solomon and we brought to David the Psalms; and 
apostles We have told thee of before and apostles We have not told thee of ; 
and God spoke directly to Moses ; apostles bringing good news and warning 
that men might have no argument against God after the apostles (had 
come). God is Mighty, Wise.' 3 

A number of them came in to the apostle and he said to them, 'Surely 
you know that I am an apostle from God to you.' They replied that they 
did not know it and would not bear witness to him. So God sent down 
concerning their words: 'But God testifies concerning what He has sent 
down to thee. With His knowledge did He send it down and the angels 
bear witness. And God is sufficient as a witness.' 

The apostle went out to the B. al-Nadir to ask their help in the matter 
of the blood-money of the two 'Amirites whom 'Amr b. Umayya al-Damri 
had slain. And when they were alone together they said, 'You will not 
find Muhammad nearer than he is now ; so what man will get on top of the 
house and throw a stone on him so that we may be rid of him ?' 'Amr b. 
Jihash b. Ka'b volunteered to do so. The apostle got to know of their 
scheme and he left them and God sent down concerning him and his 
people's intention: 'O you who believe, remember God's favour to you 
when a people purposed to stretch out their hands against you and He 
withheld their hands from you. Fear God and on God let the believers 

1 Sura 4. 50. 1 Sura 4. 57. ' Sura 4- 161. 4 Sura 5. 14. 


266 The Life of Muhammad 

Nu'man b. Ada' and Bahri b. 'Amr and Sha's b. 'Adiy came to the apostle 
and he invited them to come to God and warned them of His vengeance. 
They replied: 'You cannot frighten us, Muhammad. We are the sons and 
the beloved of God' as the Christians say. So God sent down concerning 
them: 'And the Jews and the Christians say, We are the sons and the 
beloved of God. Say, Then why does He punish you for your sins? 
Nay you are but mortals of those He has created. He pardons whom He 
will and He punishes whom He will and to God belongs the kingdom of the 
heavens and the earth and what lies between them and to Him is the 


The apostle invited the Jews to Islam and made it attractive to them 
and warned them of God's jealousy and His retribution ; but they repulsed 
him and denied what he brought them. Mu'adh b. Jabal and Sa'd b. 
'Ubada and 'Uqba b. Wahb said to them: 'Fear God, for you know right 
well that he is the apostle of God and you used to speak of him to us before 
his mission and describe him to us.' Ran' b. Huraymila and Wahb b. 
Yahudhi said, 'We never said that to you, and God has sent down no 
book since Moses nor sent an evangelist or warner after him.' So God 
sent down concerning their words: 'O scripture folk, our apostle has come 
to you to make things plain to you after a cessation of apostles lest you 
should say: No evangelist and no warner has come to us when an evangelist 
and warner has come to you (now). God is able to do all things.' 

Then he recounted to them the story of Moses and their opposition to 
him, and how they disobeyed God's commands through him so that they 
wandered in the wilderness forty years as a punishment. 

Ibn Shih§b al-Zuhri told me that he heard a learned man of Muzayna 
telling Sa'id b. al-Musayyab that Abu Hurayra had told them that Jewish 
rabbis had gathered in their school when the apostle came to Medina. 
A married man had committed adultery with a married woman and they 
said: 'Send them to Muhammad and ask him what the law about them is 
and leave the penalty to him. If he prescribes tajbih (which is scourging 
with a rope of palm fibre smeared with pitch, the blackening of their 
394 faces, mounting on two donkeys with their faces to the animal's tail) 
then follow him, for he is a king and believe in him. If he prescribes 
stoning for them, he is a prophet so beware lest he deprive you of what you 
hold.' They brought the pair to Muhammad and explained the position. 
The prophet walked to meet the rabbis in the school house and called on 
them to bring out their learned men and they produced 'Abdullah b. 

" One of the B. Qurayza told me that Abu Yasir and Wahb b. Yahudha 
were with them and the apostle questioned them so that he got to the 
bottom of their affair until they said (pointing) to 'Abdullah b. SGnya, 
'This is the most learned man living in the Torah' (321). 

He was one of the youngest of them and when the apostle was alone 

1 Sura 5. 21. The last word maflr may mean 'return'. 

The Life of Muhammad 267 

with him he put him on his oath as to whether the Torah did not prescribe 
stoning for adulterers. 'Yes,' he said, 'they know right well, Abu'l-Qasim, 
that you are a prophet sent (by God) but they envy you.' The apostle 
went out to them and commanded that the two should be stoned and they 
were stoned at the door of his mosque among B. Ghanm b. MSlik b. 
al-Najj5r. Afterwards Ibn Suriya disbelieved and denied that the apostle 
was a prophet. So God sent down concerning them: 'O apostle, let not 
those who vie with one another in unbelief sadden thee, those who say 
with their mouths, We believe, but their hearts do not believe, those 
Jews who listen to lies, listening for other people who do not come to 
thee,' i.e. those who sent others and stayed behind themselves and gave 
them orders to change the judgement from its context. Then He said: 
'They change words from their places, saying, If this be given to you 395 
receive it, and if it is not given to you, i.e. the stoning, beware of it', &c. 

Muhammad b. Talha b. Yazid b. Rukana from Isma'il b. Ibrahim from 
Ibn 'Abbas told me that the apostle ordered them to be stoned, and they 
were stoned at the door of his mosque. And when the Jew felt the first 
stone he crouched over the woman to protect her from the stones until 
both of them were killed. This is what God did for the apostle in exacting 
the penalty for adultery from the pair. 

Salih b. Kaisan from N5fV, freedman of 'Abdullah b. 'Umar from 
'Abdullah b. 'Umar, told me: When the apostle gave judgement about them 
he asked for a Torah. A rabbi sat there reading it having put his hand over 
the verse of stoning. 'Abdullah b. Sal5m struck the rabbi's hand, saying, 
This, O prophet of God, is the verse of stoning which he refuses to read 
to you.' The apostle said, 'Woe to you Jews! What has induced you to 
abandon the judgement of God which you hold in your hands?' They 
answered: 'The sentence used to be carried out until a man of royal birth 
and noble origin committed adultery and the king refused to allow him to 
be stoned. Later another man committed adultery and the king wanted 
him to be stoned but they said No, not until you stone so-and-so. And 
when they said that to him they agreed to arrange the matter by tajbih and 
they did away with all mention of stoning.' The apostle said: 'I am the 
first to revive the order of God and His book and to practise it.' They 
were duly stoned and 'Abdullah b. 'Umar said, 'I was among those that 
stoned them.' 

Da'ud b. al-Husayn from 'Ikrima from Ibn 'Abbas said that the verses 
of The Table in which God said : 'Then judge between them or withdraw 
from them and if you withdraw from them they will do thee no harm. And 
if thou judgest, judge with fairness, for God loveth those who deal fairly' 396 
were sent down concerning the blood-money between B. al-Nadlr and B. 
Qurayza. Those slain from B. al-Nadir were leaders and they wanted the 
whole bloodwit while B. Qurayza wanted half of it. They referred the 
matter for arbitration to the apostle, and God sent down that passage 
concerning them. The apostle ordered that the matter should be settled 

268 The Life of Muhammad 

justly and awarded the bloodwit in equal shares. But God knows which 
account is correct. 

Ka'b b. Asad and Ibn Saluba and his son 'Abdullah and Sha's said one 
to another, 'Let us go to Muhammad to see if we can seduce him from his 
religion, for he is only a mortal' ; so they went to him and said : ' You know, 
Muhammad, that we are the rabbis, nobles, and leaders of the Jews; 
and if we follow you the rest of the Jews will follow you and not oppose 
us. Now we have a quarrel outstanding with some of our people and if we 
believe in you and say that you are truthful will you, if we appoint you 
arbitrator between us, give judgement in our favour?' The apostle refused 
to do so and God sent down concerning them: 'And judge between them 
by what God has sent down and follow not their vain desires; and beware 
of them lest they seduce thee from some of what God has sent down to thee. 
And if they turn their backs then know that God wishes to smite them for 
some of their sins. Many men are evil-doers. Is it that they are seeking 
the judgement of paganism? Who is better than God in judgement for a 
people who are certain?* 1 

Abu Yasir and Nafi' b. Abu Nafi' and 'Azir and Khalid and Zayd and 
Izar and Ashya' came to the apostle and asked him about the apostles he 
believed in. So the apostle said: 'We believe in God and what he has sent 
down to us and what was sent down to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac 
and Jacob and the tribes and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what 
was given to the prophets from their Lord ; we make no difference between 
any one of them. And we are submissive unto Him.'* When he mentioned 
Jesus, Son of Mary, they denied that he was a prophet, saying, 'We do not 
believe in Jesus, Son of Mary, or in anyone who believes in him.' So God 
sent down concerning them: 'O Scripture folk, do you blame us for any- 
thing but our belief in God and what He has sent down to us and what was 
sent down aforetime and because most of you are evil-doers?' 3 

Rafi' b. Haritha and Sallam b. Mishkam and Malik b. al-Sayf and Rafi' 
b. Huraymila came to him and said: 'Do you not allege that you follow 
the religion of Abraham and believe in the Torah which we have and 
testify that it is the truth from God?' He replied, 'Certainly, but you have 
sinned and broken the covenant contained therein and concealed what you 
were ordered to make plain to men, and I dissociate myself from your sin.' 
They said, 'We hold by what we have. We live according to the guidance 
and the truth and we do not believe in you and we will not follow you.' 
So God sent down concerning them: 'Say, O Scripture folk, you have no 
standing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and what has been 
sent down to you from your Lord. What has been sent down to thee from 
thy Lord will assuredly increase many of them in error and unbelief. 
But be not sad because of the unbelieving people.' 4 
Al-Nahham and Qardam and Bahri came and said to him: 'Do you not 

2 Sura .1. 58. 
4 Sura 5. 72. 

The Life of Muhammad 269 

know that there is another god with God?* The apostle answered: *God, 
there is no God but He. With that (message) I was sent and that I preach.' 
God sent down concerning their words: 'Say, What is the greatest testi- 
mony ? Say God is witness between me and you, and this Quran has been 
revealed to me that I might warn you by it and whomsoever it reaches. 
Do you actually testify that with God there are other gods ? Say, I do not 
testify to that. Say He is only One God, and I dissociate myself from what 
you associate (with Him). Those to whom We sent the book know it as 
they know their own sons. Those who destroy themselves will not believe." 

Rifa'a and Suwayd had hypocritically affected to embrace Islam and 
some of the Muslims were friendly with them. So God sent down con- 
cerning these two men: 'O Believers, choose not as friends those who have 
chosen your religion to make a jest and game of it from among those who 
received the scripture before you, nor the unbelievers, and fear God if 398 
you are believers', as far as the words 'And when they come to you they 
say, Wc believe, but they came in in unbelief and they went out with it and 
God knows best about what they are concealing.' 2 

Jabal and Shamwil came to the apostle and said: 'Tell us when the hour 
will be if you are a prophet as you say.' So God sent down concerning 
them: 'They will ask you about the hour when it will come to pass. Say, 
only my Lord knows of it. None but He will reveal it at its proper time. 
It is heavy in the heavens and the earth. Suddenly will it come upon you. 
They will ask you as though you knew about it. Say Only God knows 
about it, but most men do not know' 3 (322). 

Sallam and Nu'man b. Aufa and Mahmud b. Dihya and Sha's and 
Malik came and said to him: 'How can we follow you when you have 
abandoned our Qibla and you do not allege that 'Uzayr is the son of God ?' 399 
So God sent down concerning these words: 'The Jews say that 'Uzayr 
is the son of God and the Christians say the Messiah is the son of God. 
That is what they say with their mouths copying the speech of those who 
disbelieved aforetime. God fight them! How perverse they are' to the 
end of the passage 4 (323). 

Mahmud b. Sayhan and Nu'man b. Ada' and Bahri and Lzayr and 
Sallam came to him and said: 'Is it true, Muhammad, that what you have 
brought is the truth from God? For our part we cannot see that it is 
arranged as the Torah is.' He answered, 'You know quite well that it is 
from God ; you will find it written in the Torah which you have. If men 
and jinn came together to produce its like they could not.' Finhas and 
'Abdullah b. Suriya and Ibn Saluba and Kinana b. al Rabi' and Ashya* 
and Ka'b b. al-Asad and Shamwil and Jabal were there and they said: 
' Did neither men nor jinn tell you this, Muhammad ?' He said : ' You know 

1 The charge of polytheism made against the Jews is very puzzling and hard to explain. 
Certainly this passage (Sura 6. 19) and the context in which it occurs refers not to the Jews 
but to the polytheists. 2 Sur * 5- 

I Sura 7 186. To make sense we must supply the words 'that they do not know at the 

end. 4 Sura 9 " 30, 


The Life of Muhammad 

well that it is from God and that I am the apostle of God. You will find 
it written in the Torah you have.' They said : 'When God sends an apostle 
He does for him what he wishes, so bring down a book to us from heaven 
that we may read it and know what it is, otherwise we will produce one 
like the one you bring.' So God sent down concerning their words: 
'Say, Though men and jinn should meet to produce the like of this Quran 
they would not produce its like though one helped the other' 1 (324). 

400 Huyayy, Ka'b, Abu Raft', Ashya', and Shamwil said to 'Abdullah b. 
Salam when he became a Muslim, 'There is no prophecy among the Arabs, 
but your master is a king.' Then they went to the apostle and asked him 
about Dhu'l-Qarnayn and he told them what God had sent him about 
him from what he had already narrated to Quraysh. They were of those 
who ordered Quraysh to ask the apostle about him when they sent al-Xadr 
and 'Uqba to them. 2 

I was told that Sa'id b. Jubayr said : A number of Jews came to the apostle 
and said: 'Now, Muhammad, Allah created creation, but who created 
Allah?' The apostle was so angry that his colour changed and he rushed 
at them being indignant for his Lord. Gabriel came and quietened him 
saying, 'Calm yourself, O Muhammad.' And an answer to what they asked 
came to him from God: 'Say, He God is One. God the Eternal. He 
begetteth not neither is He begotten and there is none equal to Him.' 3 
When he recited that to them they said, 'Describe His shape to us, 
Muhammad; his forearm and his upper arm, what are they like?' The 
apostle was more angry than before and rushed at them. Gabriel came to 
him and spoke as before. And an answer to what they asked came to him 
from God: 'They think not of God as He ought to be thought of; the 
whole earth will be in His grasp at the day of resurrection and the heavens 
folded up in His right hand. Glorified and Exalted is He above what they 
associate with Him.' 4 

'Utba b. Muslim freedman of the B. Taym from Abu Salama b. 
'Abdu'l- Rahman from Abu Hurayra told me: I heard the apostle say, 
'Men question their prophet 5 to such an extent that one would almost 
say, Now God created creation, but who created God? And if they say 
that, say ye: He God is One,' &c. Then let a man spit three times to the 
left and say 'I take refuge in God from Satan the damned' (325). 


A deputation from the Christians of Najran came to the apostle. There 
were sixty riders, fourteen of them from their nobles of whom three were 
in control of affairs, namely (a) the 'Aqib the leader of the people, a man 
of affairs, and their chief adviser whose opinion governed their policy, 

1 17- 90. 2 VJ., p. 136. ' 112. 

4 39. 67. In W.'s text this paragraph is attributed to Ibn Hisham. 
s I prefer W.'s reading to that of C. 

The Life of Muhammad 


'Abdu'l-Masih by name ; (b) the Sayyid, their administrator who saw to 
transport and general arrangements, whose name was al-Ayham; and 
(c) their Bishop, scholar, and religious leader who controlled their schools, 
Abu Haritha b. 'Alqama, one of B. Bakr b. Wa'il. 

Abu Haritha occupied a position of honour among them, and was a 
great student, so that he had an excellent knowledge of their religion, and 
the Christian kings of Byzantium had honoured him and paid him a sub- 
sidy and gave him servants, built churches for him and lavished honours 
on him, because of his knowledge and zeal for their religion. 

When they set out' from Najran to see the apostle Abu Haritha was 
riding on a mule of his with a brother at his side whose name was Kuz b. 
'Alqama (326). Abu HSritha's mule stumbled and Kiiz said, 'May So-and- 
so stumble,' [i.e. Curse him!], meaning the apostle. Abu Haritha said, 'Nay 
but may you stumble.' 'But why, brother?' he asked. 'Because by God he 
is the prophet we have been waiting for.' Kuz said, 'Then if you know 
that, what stops you from accepting him?' He replied, 'The way these 
people have treated us. They have given us titles, paid us subsidies, and 
honoured us. But they are absolutely opposed to him, and if I were to 402 
accept him they would take from us all that you see.' Kuz pondered over 
the matter until later he adopted Islam, and used to tell this story, so I 
have heard (327). 

Muhammad b. Ja'far b. al-Zubayr told me that when they came to 
Medina they came into the apostle's mosque as he prayed the afternoon 
prayer clad in YamanI garments, cloaks, and mantles, with the elegance of 
men of B. al-Harith b. Ka'b. The prophet's companions who saw them 
that day said that they never saw their like in any deputation that came 
afterwards. The time of their prayers having come they stood and prayed 
in the apostle's mosque, and he said that they were to be left to do so. 
They prayed towards the east. 

The names of the fourteen principal men among the sixty riders were: 
'Abdu'l-Maslh the 'Aqib, al-Ayham the Sayyid ; Abu Haritha b. 'Alqama 
brother of B. Bakr b. Wa'il ; Aus ; al-Harith ; Zayd ; Qays ; Yazld ; Nubayh ; 403 
Khuwaylid ; 'Amr ; Khalid ; 'Abdullah ; Johannes ; of these the first three 
named above spoke to the apostle. They were Christians according 
to the Byzantine rite, though they differed among themselves in some 
points, saying He is God ; and He is the son of God ; and He is the third 
person of the Trinity, which is the doctrine of Christianity. They argue 
that he is God because he used to raise the dead, and heal the sick, and 
declare the unseen; and make clay birds and then breathe into them so 
that they flew away, 2 and all this was by the command of God Almighty, 
'We will make him a sign to men.' 3 They argue that he is the son of God in 
that they say he had no known father ; and he spoke in the cradle and this 
is something that no child of Adam has ever done. They argue that he is 
the third of three in that God says: We have done, We have commanded, 

' Reading ivajjahu with W. * Sura 3. 43. * Sura 19. 21. 

27 2 The Life of Muhammad 

We have created and We have decreed, and they say, If He were one he 
would have said I have done, I have created, and soon, but He is He and 
Jesus and Mary. Concerning all these assertions the Quran came down. 

When the two divines spoke to him the apostle said to them, 'Submit 
yourselves." They said, 4 We have submitted.' He said: 'You have not 
submitted, so submit.' They said, *Nay, but we submitted before you.' 
He said, 'You lie. Your assertion that God has a son, your worship of the 
cross, and your eating pork hold you back from submission.' They said, 
•But 'who is his father, Muhammad?' The apostle was silent and did not 
answer them. So God sent down concerning their words and their in- 
coherence the beginning of the sura of the Family of 'Imran up to more 
than eightv verses, and He said: 'Alif Lam Mim. God there is no God but 
He the living the Ever-existent.' 2 Thus the sura begins with the statement 
that He transcends what they say, and His oneness in creation and autho- 
rity, without associate therein, in refutation of the infidelity they have 
invented, and their making rivals to Him; and using their own arguments 
against them in reference to their master to show them their error thereby. 
'God there is no God but He,' no associate is with Him in His authority. 
'The Living the Ever-existent,' the living Who cannot die, whereas Jesus 
died and was crucified according to their doctrine; 'The Ever-existent' one 
who remains unceasingly in the place of His sovereignty in His creation, 
whereas Jesus, according to their doctrine, removed from the place where 
he was and went from it elsewhere. 'He has brought down to thee the book 
in truth,' i.e. with the truth about which they differ. 'And He sent down 
the Torah and the Gospel,' the Torah to Moses and the Gospel to Jesus, 
as He sent down books to those who were before him. 'And He sent down 
the Criterion,* i.e. the distinction between truth and falsehood about 
which the sects differ in regard to the nature 3 of Jesus and other matters. 
'Those who disbelieve in God's signs will have a severe punishment. God 
is Mighty, Vengeful,' i.e. God will take vengeance on all who deny His 
signs after knowing about them and about what comes from Him in them. 
•Nothing in heaven or earth is hidden from God,' i.e. He knows what they 
intend and scheme and what comparison they seek to establish in their 
doctrine of Jesus when they make him God and Lord, when they possess 
the knowledge that he is nothing of the kind, thus behaving with insolence 
and infidelity. 4 He it is who forms you in the womb as He pleases i.e. 
Jesus was one who was formed in the womb— they do not attempt to deny 
that— like every other child of Adam, so how can he be God when he had 
occupied such a place? Then He says, to lift His transcendence and 
His essential Unity above what they put with Him, 'There is no God but 
He the Mighty the Wise.' The Mighty in His victory over those who deny 

' The ordinary meaning of the word must stand here. Muhammad, of course, meant 
•Become Muslims'. The Christians answered that they had already submitted themselves 

to God— see what was said on p. 179- . . J£lL f nrt « the 

I Not in the theological sense, though undoubtedly differences form the 

background of this sura. 

The Life of Muhammad 


Him when He wills, and the Wise in His argument and His case against 
His creatures. 'He it is who has sent down to thee the book which has 
plain verses: they are the core' of the book', in them is the divine argument, 
the protection of (His) creatures, and the thrusting aside of controversy 
and falsehood. These are not subject to modification or alteration 2 in the 
meaning which has been given. 'And others are obscure', they are subject 
to modification and interpretation. By them God tests His creatures as He 
tests them with things permitted and forbidden that they should not be 
changed into what is false and altered by declining from the truth. 'But 
as to those in whose hearts is a deviation,' i.e. turning away from true 
guidance, 'they follow what is ambiguous,' i.e. what can be otherwise 
interpreted to substantiate thereby what they have invented and introduced 
anew that they may have an argument and a plausible reason for their doc- 
trine, 'desiring fitna,' i.e. confusion, and 'desiring an arbitrary interpreta- 
tion,' e.g. the error they adopted in explaining 'We created' and 'We 
decreed'. 'And none knows its interpretation,' i.e. what they mean by it, 
'except God; and those grounded in knowledge. They say, We believe in 
it. Everything comes from our Lord.' So how can there be any contro- 
versy when it is one speech from one Lord ? Then they carry over the 405 
interpretation of the obscure to the plain which can have only one meaning 
and thus the book becomes consistent, one part confirming another, the 
argument effective and the case clear; falsehood is excluded and unbelief 
is overcome. 'None but the intelligent take heed' in this way. 'O Lord, 
Suffer not our hearts to go astray after Thou hast guided us,' i.e. Do not let 
our hearts swerve, though we swerve aside through our sins. 'Grant us 
mercy from Thy presence. Thou art the Generous Giver.' Then He says, 
'God witnesses that there is no God but He, and the angels and the men 
of knowledge too' contrary to what they say 'subsisting ever in justice,' i.e. 
in equity. 'There is no God but He the Mighty the Wise. The religion 
with God is Islarh,' i.e. the religion you practise, O Muhammad, acknow- 
ledging the oneness of God and confirming the apostles. 'Those to whom 
the book was brought differed only after knowledge had come to them,' i.e. 
that which came to thee, namely that God is One without associate, 
'through transgression among themselves. And whosoever disbelieves in 
God's revelations— God is swift to take into account. And if they argue 
with thee,' i.e. with the false doctrine they produce about 'We created,.' 

1 Lit. 'the mother'. 

x The two words used, tafrif and tahrif, are not always clearly defined by the Arab com- 
mentators. Lane says that the tafrif of the verses means 'the varying or diversifying of the 
verses of the Quran by repeating them in different forms, or the making of them distinct in 
their meanings by repeating and varying them'. As to tahrif. Buhl's article in E.I. should 
be consulted: 'It may happen in various ways, by direct alteration of the written text, by 
arbitrary alterations in reading aloud the text which is itself correct, by omitting parts of it 
or by interpolations or by a wrong exposition of the true sense. . . .' Ibn Ishaq says that 
neither the plain nor the obscure verses may be treated with tahrif ; but in the latter category 
tafrif and interpretation may be resorted to — i.e. a meaning may be given to them which 
the words taken as they stand do not justify. 

B 4080 T 

274 The Life of Muhammad 

'We did', and 'We commanded', it is only a specious argument devoid of 
truth. 'Say, I have surrendered my purpose 1 to God,' i.e. to Him alone, 'as 
have those who follow me. And 'say to those who received the book and 
to the gentile (converts) who have no book, 'Have you surrendered? For 
if they have surrendered they will be rightly guided and if they turn their 
backs it is only incumbent on thee to deliver the message. And God sees 
(His) servants.' 

Then He combined the Jews and Christians and reminded them of 
what they had newly invented and said: 'Those who disbelieve in God's 
revelations and kill the prophets wrongfully and kill men who enjoin 
justice' as far as the words, 'Say, O God possessor of sovereignty,' i.e. 
Lord of mankind and the King who alone decrees among them. 'Thou 
givest sovereignty to whom Thou wilt and takest it away from whom 
Thou wilt. Thou exaltest and abasest whom Thou wilt; in Thy hand is 
good,' i.e. there is no God but Thee. 'Thou canst do all things,' i.e. none 
but Thou can do this in thy majesty and power. 'Thou causest the night 
to pass into day and the day into night and bringest forth the living from 
the dead and the dead from the living' by that power. 'And Thou nur- 
turest whom Thou wilt without stint.' None has power to do that but 
Thou ; i.e. though I gave Jesus power over those matters in virtue of which 
they say that he is God such as raising the dead, healing the sick, creating 
birds of clay, and declaring the unseen, I made him thereby a sign to men 
and a confirmation of his prophethood wherewith I sent him to his people. 
But some of My majesty and power I withheld from him such as appoint- 
ing kings by a prophetic command and placing them where I wished, and 
making the night to pass into day and the day into night and bringing 
forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living and nurturing 
whom I will without stint, both the good and the evil man. All that I 
withheld from Jesus and gave him no power over it. Have they not an 
example and a clear proof that if he were a God all that would be within 
his power, while they know that he fled from kings and because of them 
he moved about the country from town to town. 

Then he admonished and warned the believers and said: Say, If you 
love God,' i.e. if what you say is true in love to God and in glorifying Him 
'and follow me, God will love you and forgive you your sins,' i.e. your past 
unbelief. 'And God is Forgiving Merciful. Say, Obey God and His 
apostle,' for you know him and find him (mentioned) in your book. But it 
you turn back,' i.e. to your unbelief, 'God loveth not the unbelievers 

Then He explained to them how what God intended to do with Jesus 
originated and said: 'God chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abra- 
ham and the family of 'Imran above the worlds. They were descendants 
one of another and God is a Hearer, a Knower.' Then he mentioned the 
affair of 'Imran's wife and how she said: 'My Lord, I vow to Thee what is 
in my womb as a consecrated offering,' i.e. I have vowed him and made 

■ tcajhi. 

The Life of Muhammad 275 

him entirely devoted to God's service subservient to no worldly interest. 
'Accept (him) from me. Thou art the Seer the Knower. And when she 
was delivered of him she said: O my Lord, I have given birth to a female — 
and God knew best of what she was delivered— and the male is not as the 
female,' i.e. the two were not the same when I vowed her to thee as a 
consecrated offering. 'I have called her Mary and I put her in Thy keeping 407 
and her offspring from Satan the damned.' God said: 'And her Lord 
accepted her with kindly acceptance and made her grow up to a goodly 
growth and made Zachariah her guardian' after her father and mother 
were dead (328). 

He mentions that she was an orphan and tells of her and Zachariah and 
what he prayed for and what He gave him when He bestowed on him 
Yahya. Then He mentions Mary and how the angels said to her, 'O Mary, 
God hath chosen thee and purified thee and chosen thee above the women 
of the worlds. O Mary, be obedient to Thy Lord and prostrate thyself and 
bow with those that bow', saying, 'That is some of the tidings of things 
hidden. We reveal it to thee. Thou wast not present with them,' i.e. thou 
wast not with them 'when they threw their arrows to know which of them 
should be the guardian of Mary' (329). 

Later her guardian was Jurayj, the ascetic, a carpenter of B. Isra'il. The 
arrow came out for him so he took her, Zachariah having been her guardian 
heretofore. A grievous famine befell B. Isra'il and Zachariah was unable 
to support her so they cast lots to see who should be her guardian and the 
lot fell on Jurayj the ascetic and he became her guardian. 'And thou wast 
not with them when they disputed,' i.e. about her. He tells him about 
what they concealed from him though they knew it to prove his prophet- 
hood and as an argument against them by telling them what they had con- 
cealed from him. 

Then He said: 'Then the angels said: O Mary, God giveth thee good 
tidings of a word from Him whose name is the Messiah Jesus, Son of Mary,' 
i.e. thus was his affair not as you say concerning him, 'illustrious in this 
world and the next,' i.e. with God 'and of those who are brought near. 1 
He will speak to men in his cradle and as a grown man, and he is of the 
righteous ones,' telling them of the phases of life through which he would 
pass like the other sons of Adam in their lives young and old, although God 
marked him out by speech in his cradle as a sign of his prophethood and 
to show mankind where his power lay. 'She said, O my Lord, how can 
I have a child when no man hath touched me ? He said : Thus (it will be) 
God creates what He will,' i.e. He does what He wishes, and creates what 408 
He wills of mortal or non-mortal. 'When He decrees a thing He merely 
says to it Be' of what He wills and how He wills 'And it is' as He wishes. 

Then He tells her of His intention in regard to him: 'And He will teach 
him the book and the wisdom and the Torah' which had been with them 
from the time of Moses before him 'and the Gospel,' another book which 

1 sc. 'to God' or 'by God'. 

276 The Life of Muhammad 

God initiated and gave to him they had only the mention of him that he 
would be one of the prophets after him. 'And an apostle to B. Isra'il 
(saying) I have come to you with a sign from your Lord,' i.e. confirming 
thereby my prophethood that I am an apostle from Him to you. 'I will 
create for you from clay the likeness of the form of birds and I will breathe 
into them and they will become birds by God's permission,' Who has sent 
me unto you, He being my Lord and yours 'and I will heal him who was 
born blind and the leper' (330). 'And I will quicken the dead by God's 
permission and I will tell you of what you eat and store up in your houses. 
Therein is a sign for you' that I am an apostle from God to you, 'if you 
become believers. And confirming that which was before me of the Torah,' 
i.e. what of it preceded me, 'and to make lawful to you some of that which 
was forbidden you,' i.e. I tell you about it that it was forbidden you and 
you abandoned it ; then I make it lawful to you to relieve you of it and you 
can enjoy it and be exempt from its penalties. 'And I bring you signs from 
your Lord, so fear God and obey me. God is my Lord and your Lord,' 
i.e. disowning what they say about him and proving that his Lord (is God). 
'So worship Him. This is a straight path,' i.e. that to which I urge you and 
bring you. 'But when Jesus perceived their disbelief and enmity against 
him 'He said, Who are my helpers towards God? The disciples said: We 
are God's helpers. We believe in God.' This is their saying by which they 
gained favour from their Lord. 'And bear witness that we are Muslims,' 
not what those who argue with thee say about Him. 'O our Lord, we 
believe in what Thou hast sent down and we follow the apostle, so write 
us down among the witnesses,' i.e. thus was their saying and their faith. 

Then He mentions His taking up of Jesus to Himself when they decided 
to kill him and says: 'And they plotted and God plotted and God is the best 
of plotters.' Then He tells them— refuting what they assert of the Jews in 
regard to his crucifixion— how He took him up and purified him from them 
and says: 'When God said, O Jesus I am about to cause thee to die and to 
exalt thee to Myself and to purify thee from those who disbelieve' when 
they purposed as they did, 'and am setting those who follow thee above 
those who disbelieve until the day of resurrection.' The narration con- 
tinues until the words 'This which We recite unto thee,' O Muhammad, 'of 
the signs and the wise warning,' the final, the decisive, the true, in which no 
falsehood is mingled, of the story of Jesus and of what they differed in 
regard to him, so accept no other report. 'The likeness of Jesus with God,' 
And listen! 'is as the likeness of Adam whom God created of earth; then 
said to him: Be; and he was. The truth is from thy Lord,' i.e. the report 
which comes to thee about Jesus, 'so be not of the doubters,' i.e. the truth 
has come to thee from thy Lord so do not be doubtful about it ; and if they 
say, Jesus was created without a male (intervening), I created Adam from 
earth by that same power without a male or a female. And he was as 
Jesus was: flesh and blood and hair and skin. The creation of Jesus withour 

1 See p. 254, n. i. 

The Life of Muhammad 


a male is no more wonderful than this. 4 Whoso argues with thee about him 
after knowledge has come to thee,' i.e. after I have told thee his story and 
how his affair was, 'Then say: Come, let us summon our sons and your 
sons, our wives and your wives, ourselves and yourselves, then let us pray 
earnestly 1 and invoke God's curse upon the liars' (331). 'Verily this' which 4 10 
I have brought you of the story of Jesus 'is the true story' of his affair. 
'There is no God but God, and God is Mighty Wise. If they turn back 
God knows about the corrupt doers. Say, O Scripture folk, Come to a 
just word between us that we will worship only God and associate nothing 
with Him and some of us will not take others as lords beside God. And if 
they turn back say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.' Thus he invited 
them to justice and deprived them of their argument. 

When there came to the apostle news of Jesus from God and a decisive 
judgement between him and them, and he was commanded to resort to 
mutual invocation of a curse if they opposed him, he summoned them to 
begin. But they said : 'O Abu 'l-Qasim, let us consider our affairs ; then we 
will come to you later with our decision.' So they left him and consulted 
with the 'Aqib who was their chief adviser and asked him what his opinion 
was. He said: 'O Christians, you know right well that Muhammad is a 
prophet sent (by God) and he has brought a decisive declaration about the 
nature of your master. You know too that a people has never invoked a 
curse on a prophet and seen its elders live and its youth grow up. If you 
do this you will be exterminated. But if you decide to adhere to your 
religion and to maintain your doctrine about your master, then take your 
leave of the man and go home.' So they came to the apostle and told him 
that they had decided not to resort to cursing and to leave him in his 
religion and return home. But they would like him to send a man he could 
trust to decide between them in certain financial matters in dispute among 

Muhammad b. Ja'far said: The apostle said, 'If you come to me this 
evening I will send a firm and trusty man.' 'Umar used to say, 'I never 
wanted an office more than I wanted that one and hoped that I should get 
it. I went to the noon prayer in the heat and when the apostle had con- 
cluded it he looked to right and left and I began to stretch myself to my 
full height so that he could see me ; but he kept on searching with his eyes 
until he saw Abu 'Ubayda b. al-Jarrah and calling him he said, "Go with 41: 
them and judge between them faithfully in matters they dispute about."' 
So, said 'Umar, Abu 'Ubayda went with them. 


'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada told me that when the apostle came to Medina 
the leader there was 'Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul al-'Auf 1 of the clan of B. 
al-Hubla ; none of his own people contested his authority and Aus and 

1 At the sequel shows, the meaning is 'let us invoke God's curse on which of us is lying'. 

278 The Life of Muhammad 

Khazraj never rallied to one man before or after him until Islam came, as 
they did to him. With him was a man of Aus whom Aus obeyed, Abu 
'Amir 'Abdu 'Amr b. Sayfi b. al-Nu'man, one of B. Pubay'a b. Zayd, 
the father of Hanzala, 'the washed' on the day of Uhud.' He had been an 
ascetic in pagan days and had worn a coarse hair garment and was called 'the 
monk'. These two men were damned through their high status and it did 
them harm. 

'Abdullah b. Ubayy's people had made a sort of jewelled diadem to 
crown him and make him their king when God sent His apostle to them; 
so when his people forsook him in favour of Islam he was filled with en- 
mity realizing that the apostle had deprived him of his kingship. However, 
when he saw that his people were determined to go over to Islam he went 
too, but unwillingly, retaining his enmity and dissimulating. 

Abu 'Amir stubbornly refused to believe and abandoned his people 
when they went over to Islam and went off to Mecca with about ten fol- 
lowers to get away from Islam and the apostle. Muhammad b. Abu 
Umama from one of the family of Hanzala b. Abu 'Amir told me that the 
apostle said, 'Don't call him the monk but the evil-doer.' 

Ja'far b. 'Abdullah b. Abu'l-Hakam whose memory went back to aposto- 
lic days and who was a narrator of tradition told me that before he left for 
Mecca Abu 'Amir came to the apostle in Medina to ask him about the 
religion he had brought. 

'The Hanif iya, the religion of Abraham.' 

That is what I follow.' 

'You do not.' 

'But I do! You, Muhammad, have introduced into the Haniflya things 
which do not belong to it.' 

'I have not. I have brought it pure and white.' 

'May God let the liar die a lonely, homeless, fugitive!' (meaning the 
apostle as if he had falsified his religion). 
'Well and good. May God so reward him!' 

That actually happened to the enemy of God. He went to Mecca and 
when the apostle conquered it he WlA to Ta'if; when Ta'if became Mus- 
lim he went to Syria and died there a lonely, homeless, fugitive. 

Now there went with him 'Alqama b. 'Ulatha b. 'Auf b. al-Ahwas b. 
Ja'far b. Kilab, and Kinana b. 'Abd Ylffl b. 'Amr b. 'Umayr al-Thaqafi. 
When he died they brought their rival claims to his property before Caesar, 
lord of Rome. 2 Caesar said, 'Let townsmen inherit townsmen and let 
nomads inherit nomads.' So Kinana b. 'Abd Yalil inherited his property 
and not 'Alqama. 

Ka'b b. Malik said of Abu 'Amir and what he had done: 

God save me from an evil deed 

Like yours against your clan, O 'Abdu 'Amr. 

• v.i. 

1 i.e. Nova Roma. 

The Life of Muhammad 279 

You said, 'I have honour and wealth', 

But of old you sold your faith for infidelity (332). 

'Abdullah b. Ubayy while maintaining his position among his people 
kept wavering until finally he adopted Islam unwillingly. 

Muhammad b. Muslim al-Zuhrl from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from Usama 
b. Zayd b. Haritha, the beloved friend of the apostle, told me that the 
apostle rode to Sa'd b. 'Ub5da to visit him during his illness, mounted on 
an ass with a saddle surmounted by a cloth of Fadak with a bridle of 1 palm- 
fibre. Said Zayd: 'The apostle gave me a seat behind him. He passed 
'Abdullah b. Ubayy as he was sitting in the shade of his fort Muzaham 
(333). Round him were sitting some of his men, and when the apostle saw 
him his sense of politeness would not allow him to pass without alighting. 413 
So he got off the animal and sat for a little while reciting the Quran and 
inviting him to God. He admonished and warned him and preached the 
good news to him while he, with his nose in the air, uttered not a word. 
Finally, when the apostle had finished speaking he said, "There would be 
nothing finer than what you say if it were true. But sit in your own house 
and if anyone comes, talk to him about it ; but don't importune those who 
do not come to you, and don't come into a man's gathering with talk which 
he does not like." 'Abdullah b. Rawaha, who was one of the Muslims who 
were sitting with him, said, "Nay, do come to us with it and come into our 
gatherings and quarters and houses. For by God it is what we love and 
what God has honoured us with, and guided us to." When 'Abdullah b. 
Ubayy saw that his people were opposed to him he said : 

When your friend is your opponent you will always be humiliated 

And your adversaries will overthrow you. 1 

Can the falcon mount without his wings? 

If his feathers are clipped he falls to the ground (334). 

'Al-Zuhrl from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from Usama told me that the 
apostle got up and went into the house of Sa'd b. 'Ubada, his face showing 
the emotions raised by Ibn Ubayy, the enemy of God. Sa'd asked the 
apostle why he looked so angry as though he had heard something that 
displeased him, and then he told him what Ibn Ubayy had said. Sa'd said: 
4 Don't be hard on him ; for God sent you to us as we were making a diadem 
to crown him, and by God he thinks that you have robbed him of a king- 


Hisham b. 'Urwa and 'Umar b. 'Abdullah b. 'Urwa from 'Urwa b. al- 
Zubayr told me that 'A'isha said: When his apostle came to Medina it 

1 Ibn Qutayba, Muqaddima, tr. Gaudefroy-Dcmombynes, Paris, 1947, p. 22, has ya'luka 
for yajra'ka. G.-D. translates mauldka by 'ton patron'. The word is a homonym and in 
its context seems to require the meaning I have given. 

276 The Life of Muhammad 

God initiated and gave to him; 1 they had only the mention of him that he 
would be one of the prophets after him. 'And an apostle to B. Isra'il 
(saying) I have come to you with a sign from your Lord,' i.e. confirming 
thereby my prophethood that I am an apostle from Him to you. 'I will 
create for you from clay the likeness of the form of birds and I will breathe 
into them and they will become birds by God's permission,' Who has sent 
me unto you, He being my Lord and yours 'and I will heal him who was 
born blind and the leper' (330). 'And I will quicken the dead by God's 
permission and I will tell you of what you eat and store up in your houses. 
Therein is a sign for you' that I am an apostle from God to you, 'if you 
become believers. And confirming that which was before me of the Torah,' 
i.e. what of it preceded me, 'and to make lawful to you some of that which 
was forbidden you,' i.e. I tell you about it that it was forbidden you and 
you abandoned it; then I make it lawful to you to relieve you of it and you 
can enjoy it and be exempt from its penalties. 'And I bring you signs from 
your Lord, so fear God and obey me. God is my Lord and your Lord,' 
i.e. disowning what they say about him and proving that his Lord (is God). 
*So worship Him. This is a straight path,' i.e. that to which I urge you and 
bring you. 'But when Jesus perceived their disbelief and enmity against 
him 'He said, Who are my helpers towards God? The disciples said: We 
are God's helpers. We believe in God.' This is their saying by which they 
gained favour from their Lord. 'And bear witness that we are Muslims,' 
not what those who argue with thee say about Him. 'O our Lord, we 
believe in what Thou hast sent down and we follow the apostle, so write 
us down among the witnesses,' i.e. thus was their saying and their faith. 

Then He mentions His taking up of Jesus to Himself when they decided 
to kill him and says: 'And they plotted and God plotted and God is the best 
of plotters.' Then He tells them — refuting what they assert of the Jews in 
regard to his crucifixion — how He took him up and purified him from them 
and says: 'When God said, O Jesus I am about to cause thee to die and to 
exalt thee to Myself and to purify thee from those who disbelieve' when 
they purposed as they did, 'and am setting those who follow thee above 
those who disbelieve until the day of resurrection.' The narration con- 
tinues until the words 'This which We recite unto thee,' O Muhammad, 'of 
the signs and the wise warning,' the final, the decisive, the true, in which no 
falsehood is mingled, of the story of Jesus and of what they differed in 
regard to him, so accept no other report. 'The likeness of Jesus with God,' 
And listen! 'is as the likeness of Adam whom God created of earth; then 
said to him: Be; and he was. The truth is from thy Lord,' i.e. the report 
which comes to thee about Jesus, 'so be not of the doubters,' i.e. the truth 
has come to thee from thy Lord so do not be doubtful about it ; and if they 
say, Jesus was created without a male (intervening), I created Adam from 
earth by that same power without a male or a female. And he was as 
Jesus was: flesh and blood and hair and skin. The creation of Jesus without 

1 See p. 254, n. 1. 

The Life of Muhammad 


a male is no more wonderful than this. 'Whoso argues with thee about him 
after knowledge has come to thee,' i.e. after I have told thee his story and 
how his affair was, 'Then say: Come, let us summon our sons and your 
sons, our wives and your wives, ourselves and yourselves, then let us pray 
earnestly 1 and invoke God's curse upon the liars' (331). 'Verily this' which 4 10 
I have brought you of the story of Jesus 'is the true story' of his affair. 
'There is no God but God, and God is Mighty Wise. If they turn back 
God knows about the corrupt doers. Say, O Scripture folk, Come to a 
just word between us that we will worship only God and associate nothing 
with Him and some of us will not take others as lords beside God. And if 
they turn back say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.' Thus he invited 
them to justice and deprived them of their argument. 

When there came to the apostle news of Jesus from God and a decisive 
judgement between him and them, and he was commanded to resort to 
mutual invocation of a curse if they opposed him, he summoned them to 
begin. But they said : 'O Abu '1-Qasim, let us consider our affairs ; then we 
will come to you later with our decision.' So they left him and consulted 
with the 'Aqib who was their chief adviser and asked him what his opinion 
was. He said: 'O Christians, you know right well that Muhammad is a 
prophet sent (by God) and he has brought a decisive declaration about the 
nature of your master. You know too that a people has never invoked a 
curse on a prophet and seen its elders live and its youth grow up. If you 
do this you will be exterminated. But if you decide to adhere to your 
religion and to maintain your doctrine about your master, then take your 
leave of the man and go home.' So they came to the apostle and told him 
that they had decided not to resort to cursing and to leave him in his 
religion and return home. But they would like him to send a man he could 
trust to decide between them in certain financial matters in dispute among 

Muhammad b. Ja'far said: The apostle said, 'If you come to me this 
evening I will send a firm and trusty man.' 'Umar used to say, 'I never 
wanted an office more than I wanted that one and hoped that I should get 
it. I went to the noon prayer in the heat and when the apostle had con- 
cluded it he looked to right and left and I began to stretch myself to my 
full height so that he could see me ; but he kept on searching with his eyes 
until he saw Abu 'Ubayda b. al-Jarrah and calling him he said, "Go with 4" 
them and judge between them faithfully in matters they dispute about.'" 
So, said 'Umar, Abu 'Ubayda went with them. 


'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada told me that when the apostle came to Medina 
the leader there was 'Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul al-'Aufi of the clan of B. 
al-Hubla ; none of his own people contested his authority and Aus and 

1 As the sequel shows, the meaning is 'let us invoke GcxTs curse on which of us is lying*. 

278 The Life of Muhammad 

Khazraj never rallied to one man before or after him until Islam came, as 
they did to him. With him was a man of Aus whom Aus obeyed, Abu 
'Amir 'Abdu 'Amr b. Sayfl b. al-Nu'man, one of B. Pubay'a b. Zayd, 
the father of Hanzala, 'the washed' on the day of Uhud.' He had been an 
ascetic in pagan days and had worn a coarse hair garment and was called 'the 
monk'. These two men were damned through their high status and it did 
them harm. 

'Abdullah b. Ubayy's people had made a sort of jewelled diadem to 
crown him and make him their king when God sent His apostle to them; 
so when his people forsook him in favour of Islam he was filled with en- 
mity realizing that the apostle had deprived him of his kingship. However, 
when he saw that his people were determined to go over to Islam he went 
too, but unwillingly, retaining his enmity and dissimulating. 

Abu 'Amir stubbornly refused to believe and abandoned his people 
when they went over to Islam and went off to Mecca with about ten fol- 
lowers to get away from Islam and the apostle. Muhammad b. Abu 
Umama from one of the family of Hanzala b. Abu 'Amir told me that the 
apostle said, 'Don't call him the monk but the evil-doer.' 

Ja'far b. 'Abdullah b. Abu'l-Hakam whose memory went back to aposto- 
lic days and who was a narrator of tradition told me that before he left for 
Mecca Abu 'Amir came to the apostle in Medina to ask him about the 
religion he had brought. 

'The Hanlf iya, the religion of Abraham.' 

'That is what I follow.' 

'You do not.' 

'But I do! You, Muhammad, have introduced into the Haniflya things 
which do not belong to it.' 

'I have not. I have brought it pure and white.' 

'May God let the liar die a lonely, homeless, fugitive!' (meaning the 
apostle as if he had falsified his religion). 
'Well and good. May God so reward him!' 

That actually happened to the enemy of God. He went to Mecca and 
when the apostle conquered it he wmt to Ta'if ; when Ta'if became Mus- 
lim he went to Syria and died there a lonely, homeless, fugitive. 

Now there went with him 'Alqama b. 'Ulatha b. 'Auf b. al-Ahwas b. 
Ja'far b. Kilab, and Kinana b. 'Abd Yiffl b. 'Amr b. 'Umayr al-Thaqafi. 
When he died they brought their rival claims to his property before Caesar, 
lord of Rome. 2 Caesar said, 'Let townsmen inherit townsmen and let 
nomads inherit nomads.' So Kinana b. 'Abd Yalil inherited his property 
and not 'Alqama. 

Ka'b b. Malik said of Abu *Amir and what he had done: 


God save me from an evil deed 

Like yours against your clan, O 'Abdu 'Amr. 

1 t-.i. * i.e. Nova Roma. 

The Life of Muhammad 279 

You said, 'I have honour and wealth', 

But of old you sold your faith for infidelity (332). 

'Abdullah b. Ubayy while maintaining his position among his people 
kept wavering until finally he adopted Islam unwillingly. 

Muhammad b. Muslim al-Zuhri from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from Usama 
b. Zayd b. HSritha, the beloved friend of the apostle, told me that the 
apostle rode to Sa'd b. 'Ubada to visit him during his illness, mounted on 
an ass with a saddle surmounted by a cloth of Fadak with a bridle of palm- 
fibre. Said Zayd: 'The apostle gave me a seat behind him. He passed 
'Abdullah b. Ubayy as he was sitting in the shade of his fort MuzSham 
(333). Round him were sitting some of his men, and when the apostle saw 
him his sense of politeness would not allow him to pass without alighting. 413 
So he got off the animal and sat for a little while reciting the Quran and 
inviting him to God. He admonished and warned him and preached the 
good news to him while he, with his nose in the air, uttered not a word. 
Finally, when the apostle had finished speaking he said, "There would be 
nothing finer than what you say if it were true. But sit in your own house 
and if anyone comes, talk to him about it ; but don't importune those who 
do not come to you, and don't come into a man's gathering with talk which 
he does not like." 'Abdullah b. RawSha, who was one of the Muslims who 
were sitting with him, said, "Nay, do come to us with it and come into our 
gatherings and quarters and houses. For by God it is what we love and 
what God has honoured us with, and guided us to." When 'Abdullah b. 
Ubayy saw that his people were opposed to him he said : 

When your friend is your opponent you will always be humiliated 

And your adversaries will overthrow you. 1 

Can the falcon mount without his wings? 

If his feathers are clipped he falls to the ground (334). 

4 A1-Zuhrl from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr from Usama told me that the 
apostle got up and went into the house of Sa'd b. 'Ubada, his face showing 
the emotions raised by Ibn Ubayy, the enemy of God. Sa'd asked the 
apostle why he looked so angry as though he had heard something that 
displeased him, and then he told him what Ibn Ubayy had said. Sa'd said: 
' Don't be hard on him ; for God sent you to us as we were making a diadem 
to crown him, and by God he thinks that you have robbed him of a king- 


HishSm b. 'Urwa and 'Umar b. 'Abdullah b. 'Urwa from 'Urwa b. al- 
Zubayr told me that 'A'isha said: When his apostle came to Medina it 

1 Ibn Qutayba, Muqaddima, tr. Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Paris, 1947, p. 22, has ya'luka 
for yafra'ka. G.-D. translates mauldka by 'ton patron'. The word is a homonym and in 
its context seems to require the meaning I have given. 

280 The Life of Muhammad 

was the most fever-infested land on earth, and his companions suffered 

414 severely from it, though God kept it from His apostle. 'Amir b. Fuhayra 
and Bilal, freedmen of Abu Bakr, were with him in one house when the 
fever attacked them, and I came in to visit them, for the veil had not then 
been ordered for us. Only God knows how much they suffered from the 
fever. I came to my father and asked him how he fared and he said : 

Any man might be greeted by his family in the morning 
While death was nearer than the thong of his sandal. 

I thought that my father did not know what he was saying. Then I went to 
'Amir and asked him how he was and he said: 

I have experienced death before actually tasting it: 
The coward's death comes upon him as he sits. 
Every man resists it with all his might 
Like the ox who protects his body with his horns (335). 

I thought that 'Amir did not know what he was saying. Bilal when the 
fever left him lay prostrate in a corner of the house. Then he lifted up his 
voice and said: 

Shall I ever spend a night again in Fakhkh 1 
With sweet herbs and thyme around me ? 

Will the day dawn when I come down to the waters of Majanna 
Shall I ever see Shama and Tafil again? (336) 

I told the apostle what they had said and he remarked that they were 
delirious and out of their minds with a high temperature. He said, "O God, 
make Medina as dear to us as Mecca and even dearer! And bless to us its 
«-^food, and carry its fever to Mahya'a." Mahya'a is al-Juhfa.' 2 
I Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri from 'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. al-'As mentioned that, 

\J/ when the apostle came to Medina with his companions, the fever of Medina 
smote them until they were extremely ill (though God turned it away from 

415 his prophet) to such a degree that they could only pray sitting. The apostle 
came out to them when they were praying thus and said: 'Know that the 
prayer of the sitter is only half as valuable as the prayer of the stander.' 
Thereupon the Muslims painfully struggled to their feet despite thcii 
weakness and sickness, seeking a blessing. 

Then the apostle prepared for war in pursuance of God's command to 
fight his enemies and to fight those polythcists who were near at hand 
whom God commanded him to fight. This was thirteen years after his 

■ Cf. YSq.iii.854. 1 1, and Bukhari, i.471. 13. Fakhkh is a place outside Mecca. Majanna 
in the lower part of Mecca was a market of the Arahs in pagan days. 

a Cf. Y3q. i. 35. 16, who says it was once a large village with a pulpit on the road from- 
Medina to Mecca ahout four stages distant from the latter. It was the rendezvous of the 
Egyptians and Syrians if they wished to avoid Medina. 

The Life of Muhammad 



By the preceding isndd from 'Abdullah b. Hisham who said Ziyad b. 
'Abdullah al-Bakka'I from Muhammad b. Ishaq told me that the apostle 
came to Medina on Monday at high noon on the 12th of Rabl'u'l-awwal. 

The apostle on that day was fifty-three years of age, that being thirteen 
years after God called him. He stayed there for the rest of Rabl'u'l-awwal, 
the month of Rabl'u'l-Akhir, the two Jumadas, Rajab, Sha'ban, Ramadan, 
Shawwal, Dhu'l-Qa'da, Dhu'l -Hijja (when the polytheists supervised the 
pilgrimage), and Muharram. Then he went forth raiding in Safar at the 
beginning of the twelfth month from his coming to Medina (337). 


until he reached Waddan, w hich is the raid of al-Abwa', making for Quraysh 
and B. Pamra b. Bakr b. 'Abdu Manat b. Kinana. The B. Damra there 4«6 
made peace with him through their leader MakhshT b. 'Amr al-Damrl. 
Then he returned to Medina without meeting war and remained there for 
the rest of Safar and the beginning of Rabi'u'l-awwal (338). 


During that stay in Medina the apostle sent 'Ubayda b. al-IIarith b. al- 
Muttalib with sixty or eighty riders from the emigrants, there not being a 
single one of the Ansar among them. He went as far as water in the Hijaz 
below Thaniyatu'l-Murra, where he encountered a large number of 
Quraysh. No fighting took place except that Sa'd b. Abu Waqqas shot an 
arrow on that day. It was the first arrow to be shot in Islam. Then the two 
companies separated, the Muslims having a rearguard. Al-Miqdad b. 
'Amr al-Bahrani, an ally of the B. Zuhra, and 'Utba b. Ghazwan b. Jabir 
al-Mazini, an ally of the B. Naufal b. 'Abdu Manaf, fled from the poly- 
theists and joined the Muslims to whom they really belonged. They had 
gone out w ith the unbelievers in order to be able to link up with the Mus- 
lims. 'Ikrima b. Abu Jahl was in command of the Meccans (339). 
Concerning this raid Abu Bakr composed the following (340). 

Could you not sleep because of the spectre of Salma in the sandy 

And the important event that happened in the tribe? 
You see that neither admonition nor a prophet's call 
Can save some of Lu'ayy from unbelief; 

A truthful prophet came to them and they gave him the lie, 4*7 

And said, 'You shall not live among us.' 

When we called them to the truth they turned their backs, 

They howled like bitches driven back panting to their lairs; 


The Life of Muhammad 

With how many of them have we tics of kinship, 

Yet to abandon piety drd not weigh upon them ; 

If they turn back from their unbelief and disobedience 

(For the good and lawful is not like the abominable); 

If they follow their idolatry and error 

God's punishment on them will not tarry ; 

We are men of Ghalib's highest stock 

From which nobility comes through many branches ; 

I swear by the lord of camels urged on at even by singing, 

Their feet protected by old leather thongs, 

Like the red-backed deer that haunt Mecca 

Going down to the well's slimy cistern ; 

I swear, and I am no perjurer, 

If they do not quickly repent of their error, 

A valiant band will descend upon them, 

Which will leave women husbandless. 

It will leave dead men, with vultures wheeling round, 

It will not spare the infidels as Ibn Harith did. 1 

Give the Banu Sahm with you a message 

And every infidel who is trying to do evil ; 

If you assail 2 my honour in your evil opinion 

I will not assail 2 yours. 

•Abdullah b. al-Ziba'ra al-Sahml replied thus: 
Does your eye weep unceasingly 

Over the ruins of a dwelling that the shifting sand obscures? 
And one of the wonders of the days 
(For time is full of wonders, old and new) 
Is a strong army which came to us 
Led by 'Ubayda, called Ibn Harith in war, 
That we should abandon images venerated in Mecca, 
Passed on to his heirs by a noble ancestor. 
When we met them with the spears of Rudayna, 
And noble steeds panting for the fray, 
And swords so white they might be salt-strewn 
In the hands of warriors, dangerous as lions, 
418 Wherewith we deal with the conceited 3 

And quench our thirst for vengeance without delay, 
They withdrew in great fear and awe, 
Pleased with the order of him who kept them back. 
Had they not done so the women would have wailed, 

1 i.e. 'Ubayda. 

2 Abu Dharr refers the meaning of this word to the divine omniscience. In this line 
possibly 'ancestry'' rather than 'honour' is the meaning of 'ird. 

1 Lit., the turning away of him who turns to one side. Possibly the writer has in mind 
Sura 31. 17, 'Turn not thy cheek in scorn towards people'. 

The Life of Muhammad 

Bereft of their husbands all of them. 

The slain would have been left for those concerned 

And those utterly heedless to talk about. 

Give Abu Bakr with you a message: 

You have no further part in the honour 1 of Fihr, 

No binding oath that cannot be broken 

That war will be renewed is needed from me (341). 
Sa'd b. Abu Waqqas, according to reports, said about his having shot an 
arrow : 

Has the news reached the apostle of God 

That I protected my companions with my arrows ? 

By them I defended their vanguard 

In rough ground and plain. 

No archer who shoots an arrow at the enemy 

Will be counted before me, O apostle of God. 

'Twas because thy religion is true 

Thou hast brought what is just and truthful. 

By it the believers are saved 

And unbelievers recompensed at the last. 

Stop, thou hast gone astray, so do not slander me. 

Woe to thee Abu Jahl, lost one of the tribe! (342). 
The flag of 'Ubayda b. al-Harith according to my information was the 
first flag which the apostle entrusted to a believer in Islam. Some scholars 
allege that the apostle sent him when he came back from the raid of al- 
Abwa' before he got to Medina. 

hamza's expedition to the SEA-SHORE 419 

While he was staying there he sent Hamza b. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib to the sea- 
shore in the neighbourhood of Al-'Is (T. in the territory of Juhayna) with 
thirty riders from the emigrants; none of the helpers took part. He met 
Abu Jahl with three hundred riders from Mecca on the shore, and Majdl 
b. 'Amr al-Juhani intervened between them, for he was at peace with both 
parties. So the people separated one from another without fighting. 

Some people say that Hamza's flag was the first which the apostle gave 
to any Muslim because he sent him and 'Ubayda at the same time, and 
thus people became confused on the point. They alleged that Hamza had 
composed poetry in which he says that his flag was the first which the 
apostle entrusted to anyone. Now if Hamza actually said that, it is true if 
God wills. He would not have said it if it were not true, but God knows 
what happened. We have heard from learned people that 'Ubayda was the 
first man to receive a flag. Hamza said concerning that, so they allege (343): 

Wonder, O my people, at good sense and at folly, 

At lack of sound counsel and at sensible advice, 

1 See n. 2 on the previous page. 

284 The Life of Muhammad 

At those who have wronged us, while we have left 

Their people and their property inviolate, 

As though we had attacked them ; 

But all we did was to enjoin chastity and justice 

And call them to Islam, but they received it not, 

And they treated it as a joke. 

They ceased not so until I volunteered to attack them 
Where they dwelt, desiring the satisfaction of a task well done 
At the apostle's command— the first to march beneath his flag, 
Seen with none before me, 
A victorious flag from a generous, mighty God, 
Whose acts are the most gracious. 
At even they sallied forth together, 
Each man's pot burning with his companion's rage; 
42° When we saw each other, they halted and hobbled the camels, 
And we did the same an arrow-shot distant. 
We said to them, 'God's rope is our victorious defence, 
You have no rope but error.' 
Abu Jahl warred there unjustly, 

And was disappointed, for God frustrated his schemes. 

We were but thirty riders, while they were two hundred and one. 

Therefore, O Lu'ayy, obey not your deceivers, 

Return to Islam and the easy path, 

For I fear that punishment will be poured upon you 

And you will cry out in remorse and sorrow. 

Abu Jahl answered him, saying: 

I am amazed at the causes of anger and folly 
And at those who stir up strife by lying controversy, 
Who abandon our fathers' ways. 
Those noble, powerful men, 
They come to us with lies to confuse our minds, 
But their lies cannot confuse the intelligent. 
We said to them, *0 our people, strive not with your folk- 
Controversy is the utmost folly — 
For if you do, your weeping women will cry out 
Wailing in calamity and bereavement. 
If you give up what you are doing, 
We are your cousins, trustworthy and virtuous.' 
They said to us, 'We find Muhammad 
One whom our cultured and intelligent accept.' 
When they were obstinately contentious 
And all their deeds were evil, 
I attacked them by the sea-shore, to leave them 
Like a withered leaf on a rootless stalk. 

The Life of Muhammad 285 

Majdi held me and my companions back from them 

And they helped me with swords and arrows 

Because of an oath binding on us, which we cannot discard, 

A firm tie which cannot be severed. 

But for Ibn 'Amr I should have left some of them 

Food for the ever-present vultures, unavenged: 

But he had sworn an oath, which made 

Our hands recoil from our swords. 

If time spares me I will come at them again, 

With keen, new polished swords, 

In the hands of warriors from Lu'ayy, son of Ghalib, 

Generous in times of dearth and want (344). 1 


Then the apostle went raiding in the month of Rabi'u'l-Awwal making for 
Quraysh (345), until he reached Buwat in the neighbourhood of Radwa. 
Then he returned to Medina without fighting, and remained there for the 
rest of Rabi'u'l-Akhir and part of Jumada'l-Cla. 


Then he raided the Quraysh (346). He went by the way of B. Dinar, then 
by Fayfa'u-l-Khabar, and halted under a tree in the valley of Ibn Azhar 
called Dhatu'l-Saq. There he prayed and there is his mosque. Food was 
prepared and they all ate there. The place occupied by the stones which 
supported his cooking-pot is still known. He drank from a watering place 
called al-Mushtarib. 2 Then he went on leaving al-Khala'iq' on the left 
and went through a glen called 'Abdullah to this day ; then he bore to the 
left 4 until he came down to Yalyal and halted where it joins al-Dabu'a. 
He drank of the well at al-Dabu'a and then traversed the plain of Malal 
until he met the track in Sukhayrat al-Yamam which carried him straight 
to al-'Ushayra in the valley of Yanbu' where he stopped during Jumada'l- 
U15 and some days of the following month. He made a treaty of friend- 
ship there with B. Mudlij and their allies B. Damra, and then returned to 
Medina without a fight. It was on this raid that he spoke the well-known 
words to 'Ali. 

Yazld b. Muhammad b. Khaytham al-Muharibi from Muhammad b. 
Ka'b. al-QurazT from Muhammad b. Khaytham the father of Yazld from 
'Ammar b. Yasir told me that the latter said: 'Alt and I were close com- 
panions in the raid of al-'Ushayra and when the apostle halted there we saw 

1 The language of this '' and its predecessor owes much to the Quran. 

2 Tah. and Suhayli have 'al-Mushayrih. 

3 According to Yaqut tbtrc is a place of this name near Medina which belonged to 
'Abdullah b. Ahmad b. Jahsh. 

4 Reading yasdr for W.'s Had. Cf. Suhayli in loc. 

286 The Life of Muhammad 

some men of B. Mudlij working at a well and on the date palms. 'All 
suggested' that we should go and see what the men were doing, so we went 
and watched them for a time until we were overcome by drowsiness and 
we went and lay down under some young palms and fell fast asleep in the 
soft fine dust. And then who should wake us but the apostle himself as he 
stirred us with his foot! It was as we were dusting ourselves that the apostle 
said to 'Ali when he saw him covered with dust, 'What have you been up 
to, Abu Turab (father of dust)?' Then he went on, 'Shall I tell you of the 
two most wretched creatures? Uhaymir of Thamud who slaughtered the 
camel, and he who shall strike you here, 'Ali'— and he put his hand to the 
side of his head— 'until this is soaked from it'— and he took hold of his 

A learned traditionist told me that the real reason why the apostle called 
'Ali Abu Turab was that when 'Ali' was angry with Fatima he would not 
speak to her. He did not say anything to annoy her, but he used to sprinkle 
dust on his head. Whenever the apostle saw dust on 'All's head he knew 
that he was angry with Fatima and he would say, 'What is your trouble, O 
Abu Turab?' But God knows the truth of the matter. 


Meanwhile the apostle had sent Sa'd b. Abu Waqqas with eight men from 
the emigrants. He went as far as al-Kharrar in the Hijaz. Then he returned 
without fighting (347). 


The apostle stayed only a few nights, less than ten, in Medina when he 
came back from raiding Al-'Ushayra, and then Kurz b. Jabir al-Fihri 
raided the pasturing camels of Medina. The apostle went out in search of 
him (348), until he reached a valley called Safawan, in the neighbourhood 
of Badr. Kurz escaped him and he could not overtake him. This was the 
first raid of Badr. Then the apostle returned to Medina and stayed there 
for the rest of Jumada'l Akhira, Rajab, and Sha'ban. 



The apostle sent 'Abdullah b. Jahsh b. Ri'ab al-Asadi in Rajab on his 
return from the first Badr. He sent with him eight emigrants, without any 
of the Ansar. He wrote for him a letter, and ordered him not to look at it 

' In T- ( ,2 7' " !t ) ,he suggestion is made to 'Ali by *Ammar. Someone has been guilty 
of a deliberate alteration. 

The Life of Muhammad 287 

until he had journeyed for two days, and to do what he was ordered to do, 
but not to put pressure on any of his companions. The names of the eight 
emigrants were, Abu Hudhayfa, 'Abdullah b. Jahsh, 'Ukkasha b. Mihsan, 
*Utba b. Ghazwan, Sa'd b. Abu Waqq5s, 'Amir b. Rabi'a, Waqid b. 424 
'Abdullah, and Khalid b. al-Bukayr. 1 

When 'Abdullah had travelled for two days he opened the letter and 
looked into it, and this is what it said: 'When you have read this letter of 
mine proceed until you reach Nakhla between Mecca and Al-Ta'if. Lie in 
wait there for Quraysh and find out for us what they are doing.' Having 
read the letter he said, To hear is to obey.' Then he said to his com- 
panions, 'The apostle has commanded me to go to Nakhla to lie in wait 
there for Quraysh so as to bring him news of them. He has forbidden me 
to put pressure on any of you, so if anyone wishes for martyrdom let him 
go forward, and he who does not, let him go back ; as for me I am going on 
as the prophet has ordered.' So he went on, as did all his companions, not 
one of them falling back. He journeyed along the Hijaz until at a mine 
called Bahran above al-Furu', Sa'd and 'Utba lost the camel which they 
were riding by turns, so they stayed behind to look for it,' while 'Abdullah 
and the rest of them went on to Nakhla. A caravan of Quraysh carrying 
dry raisins and leather and other merchandise of Quraysh passed by them, 
'Amr b. al-Hadraml (349), 'Uthman b. Abdullah b. al-Mughira and his 
brother Naufal the Makhzu mites, and al-Hakam b. Kaysan, freedman 
of Hisham b. al-Mughira being among them. When the caravan saw them 
they were afraid of them because they had camped near them. 'Ukkasha, 
who had shaved his head, looked down on them, and when they saw him 
they felt safe and said, 'They are pilgrims, you have nothing to fear from 
them.' The raiders took council among themselves, for this was the last 
day of Rajab, and they said, 'If you leave them alone tonight they will get 
into the sacred area and will be safe from you; and if you kill them, you 425 
will kill them in the sacred month,' so they were hesitant and feared to 
attack them. Then they encouraged each other, and decided to kill as 
many as they could of them and take what they had. Waqid shot 'Amr b. 
al-Hadraml with an arrow and killed him, and 'Uthman and al-Hakam 
surrendered. Naufal escaped and eluded them. 'Abdullah and his com- 
panions took the caravan and the two prisoners and came to Medina with 
them. One of 'Abdullah's family mentioned that he said to his companions, 
'A fifth of what we have taken belongs to the apostle.' (This was before 
God had appointed a fifth of the booty to him.) So he set apart for the 
apostle a fifth of the caravan, and divided the rest among his companions. 

When they came to the apostle, he said, 'I did not order you to fight in 
the sacred month,' and he held the caravan and the two prisoners in sus- 
pense and refused to take anything from them. When the apostle said that, 
the men were in despair and thought that they were doomed. Their Mus- 

1 As these men have already been named with full particulars of their genealogy and 
tribes, only their first names arc repeated here. 

288 The Life of Muhammad 

lim brethren reproached them for what they had done, and the Quraysh 
said 'Muhammad and his companions have violated the sacred month, 
shed blood therein, taken booty, and captured men.' The Muslims in 
Mecca who opposed them said that they had done it in Sha ban. The 
Jews turned this raid into an omen against the apostle. 'Amr b. al-Hadrami 
whom Waqid had killed they said meant ' amaratV l-harb (war has come to 
life) al-Hadrami meant hadaratV l-harb (war is present), and Waqid meant 
vaqadatV l-harb (war is kindled); but God turned this against them, not 
for them, and when there was much talk about it, God sent down to his 
apostle: 'They will ask you about the sacred month, and war m it. Say, 
war therein is a serious matter, but keeping people from the way of God 
and disbelieving in Him and in the sacred mosque and driving out His 
people therefrom is more serious with God.' 1 i.e. If you have killed in the 
sacred month, they have kept you back from the way of God with their 
unbelief in Him, and from the sacred mosque, and have driven you from 
it when you were its people. This is a more serious matter with God than 
426 the killing of those of them whom you have slain. 'And seduction is 
worse than killing.' i.e. They used to seduce the Muslim in his religion 
until they made him return to unbelief after believing, and that is worse 
with God than killing. 'And they will not cease to fight you until they 
turn you back from your religion if they can.' i.e. They are doing more 
heinous acts than that contumaciously. 

And when the Quran came down about that and God relieved the Mus- 
lims of their anxiety in the matter, the apostle took the caravan and the 
prisoners. Quraysh sent to him to redeem 'Uthman and al-Hakam, and 
the apostle said, 'We will not let you redeem them until our two com- 
panions come,' meaning Sad and *Utba, 'for we fear for them on your 
account. If you kill them, we will kill your two friends.' So when Sa'd and 
'Utba turned up the apostle let them redeem them. As for al-Hakam he 
became a good Muslim and stayed with the apostle until he was killed as 
a martyr at Bi'r Ma'una. 'Uthman went back to Mecca and died there as 
an unbeliever. When 'Abdullah and his companions were relieved of their 
anxiety when the Quran came down, they were anxious for reward, and 
said, 'Can we hope that it will count as a raid for which we shall be given 
the reward of combatants?' So God sent down concerning them: 'Those 
who believe and have emigrated and fought in the way of God, these may 
hope for God's mercy, for God is forgiving, merciful.' That is, God gave 
them the greatest hopes therein. The tradition about this comes from Al- 
Zuhri and Yazld b. Ruman from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr. 

One of 'Abdullah's family mentioned that God divided the booty when 
He made it permissible and gave four-fifths to whom God had allowed to 
take it and one-fifth to God and His apostle. So it remained on the basis 
of what 'Abdullah had done with the booty of that caravan (350). 
427 Abu Bakr said concerning 'Abdullah's raid (though others say that *Ab- 

1 Sura 2. 214. 

The Life of Muhammad 289 

dullah himself said it), when Quraysh said, 'Muhammad and his com- 
panions have broken the sacred month, shed blood therein, and taken 
booty and made prisoners' (351): 

You count war in the holy month a grave matter, 

But graver is, if one judges rightly, 

Your opposition to Muhammad's teaching, and your 

Unbelief in it, which God sees and witnesses, 

Your driving God's people from His mosque 

So that none can be seen worshipping Him there. 

Though you defame us for killing him, 

More dangerous to Islam is the sinner who envies. 

Our lances drank of Ibn al-Hadrami's blood 

In Nakhla when Waqid lit the flame of war, 

'Uthman ibn 'Abdullah is with us, 

A leather band streaming with blood restrains him. 1 


It is said that the Qibla was changed in Sha'ban at the beginning of the 
eighteenth month after the apostle's arrival in Medina. 


Then the apostle heard that Abu Sufyan b. Harb was coming from Syria 
with a large caravan of Quraysh, containing their money and merchandise, 
accompanied by some thirty or forty men, of whom were Makhrama b. 
Naufal b. L hayb b. 'Abdu Manaf b. Zuhra, and 'Amr b. al-'As b. Wa'il b. 
Hisham (352). 

Muhammad b. Muslim al-Zuhri and 'Asim b. 'Umar b. Qatada and 428 
'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr and Yazid b. Ruman from 'Unva b. al-Zubayr, and 
other scholars of ours from Ibn 'Abbas, each one of them told me some of 
this story and their account is collected in what I have drawn up of the 
story of Badr. They said that when the apostle heard about Abu Sufyan 
coming from Syria, he summoned the Muslims and said, 'This is the 
Quraysh caravan containing their property. Go out to attack it, perhaps 
God will give it as a prey.' The people answered his summons, some 
eagerly, others reluctantly because they had not thought that the apostle 
would go to war. When he got near to the Hijaz, Abu Sufyan was seeking 
news, and questioning every rider in his anxiety, until he got news from 
some riders that Muhammad had called out his companions against him 
and his caravan. He took alarm at that and hired Damdam b. 'Amr al- 
Ghifari and sent him to Mecca, ordering him to call out Quraysh in defence 
of their property, and to tell them that Muhammad was lying in wait for 
it with his companions. So Damdam left for Mecca at full speed. 

1 Cf. Sura a. 314 f. which these lines endeavour to put into verse. 
B 4080 U 


The Life of Muhammad 


A person above suspicion told me on the authority of Tkrima from b. 
'Abbas and Yazld b. RQman from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr, saying: 'three days 
before Pamdam arrived 'Atika saw a vision which frightened her. She sent 
to her brother al-' Abbas saying, "Brother, last night I saw a vision which 
frightened me and I am afraid that evil and misfortune will come upon 
your people, so treat what I tell you as a confidence." He asked what she 
had seen, and she said, "I saw a rider coming upon a camel who halted in 
the valley. Then he cried at the top of his voice, 'Come forth, O people, 
do not leave your men to face a disaster that will come in three days time.' 1 
I saw the people flock to him, and then he went into the mosque with the 
people following him. While they were round him his camel mounted to 
the top of the Ka'ba. Then he called out again, using the same words. 
Then his camel mounted to the top of Abu Qubays, 2 and he cried out 
again. Then he seized a rock and loosened it, and it began to fall, until at 
the bottom of the mountain it split into pieces. There was not a house or 
a dwelling in Mecca but received a bit of it." al-'Abbas said, "By God, this 
is indeed a vision, and you had better keep quiet about it and not tell 
anyone." Then 'Abbas went out and met al-Walid b. 'Utba, who was a 
friend of his, and told him and asked him to keep it to himself. al-Walid 
told his father and the story spread in Mecca until Quraysh were talking 
about it in their public meetings. 

'al-'Abbas said, "I got up early to go round the temple, while Abu Jahl 
was sitting with a number of Quraysh talking about 'Atika's vision. When 
he saw me he said, 'Come to us when you have finished going round the 
temple.' When I had finished I went and sat with them, and he said, 'O 
Banu 'Abdu'l-Muttalib, since when have you had a prophetess among you ?' 
'And what do you mean by that ?' I said. 'That vision which 'Atika saw,' he 
answered. I said, 'And what did she see ?' He said, 'Are you not satisfied 
that your men should play the prophet that your women should do so also ? 
'Atika has alleged that in her vision someone said, "Come forth to war in 
three days." We shall keep an eye on you these three days, and if what she 
says is true, then it will be so; but if the three days pass and nothing hap- 
pens, we will write you down as the greatest liars of the temple people 
among the Arabs.' Nothing much had passed between us except that I 
contradicted that and denied that she had seen anything. Then we sepa- 
rated. When night came every single woman of B. 'Abdu'l-Muttalib came 
to me and said, 'Have you allowed this evil rascal to attack your men, and 
then go on to insult your women while you listened ? Have you no shame 
that you should listen to such things?' I said, 'By God, I have done some- 
thing; nothing much passed between us but I swear by God that I will 
confront him, and if he repeats what he has said, I will rid you of him.' 

' Lit. 'Come forth ye perfidious to your disaster', &c. See Suhayli's note in he. 
2 A mountain hard by. 

The Life of Muhammad 291 

On the third day after 'Atika's vision, while I was enraged, thinking that 
I had let something slip which I wanted to get from him, I went into the 43© 
mosque and saw him, and as I was walking towards him to confront him 
so that he should repeat some of what he had said and I could attack him, 
for he was a thin man with sharp features, sharp tongue, and sharp sight, 
lo, he came out towards the door of the mosque hurriedly, and I said to 
myself, 'What is the matter with him, curse him, is all this for fear that I 
should insult him?' But lo, he had heard something which I did not hear, 
the voice of Pamdam crying out in the bottom of the wadi, as he stood 
upon his camel, having cut its nose, turned its saddle round, and rent his 
shirt, while he was saying, '0 Quraysh, the transport camels, the transport 
camels! Muhammad and his companions are lying in wait for your pro- 
perty which is with Abu Sufyan. I do not think that you will overtake it. 
Help! Help!' This diverted him and me from our affair." 


The men prepared quickly, saying, "Do Muhammad and his companions 
think this is going to be like the caravan of Ibn Hadrami ? By God, they 
will soon know that it is not so." Every man of them either went himself or 
sent someone in his place. So all went ; not one of their nobles remained 
behind except Abu Lahab. He sent in his place al-'As b. Hisham b. al- 
Mughira who owed him four thousand dirhams which he could not pay. 
So he hired him with them on the condition that he should be cleared of his 
debt. So he went on his behalf and Abu Lahab stayed behind.' 

'Abdullah b. Abu Najlh told me that Umayya b. Khalaf had decided to 
stay at home. He was a stately old man, corpulent and heavy. 'Uqba b. 
Abu Mu'ayt came to him as he was sitting in the mosque among his com- 
panions, carrying a censer burning with scented wood. He put it in front 
of him and said, 'Scent yourself with that, for you belong to the women! 1 
'God curse you and what you have brought,' he said, and then got ready 
and went out with the rest. When they had finished their preparations 
and decided to start, they remembered the quarrel there was between them 
and B. Bakr b. 'Abdu Manat b. Kinana, and were afraid that they would 
attack them in the rear. 

The cause of the war between Quraysh and B. Bakr, according to what 431 
one of B. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy from Muhammad b. Sa'id b. al-Musayyab told 
me, was a son of Hafs b. al-Akhyaf, one of the B. Ma'Is b. 'Amir b. Lu'ayy. 
He had gone out seeking a lost camel of his in Pajnan. He was a youngster 
with flowing locks on his head, wearing a robe, a good-looking, clean youth. 
He passed by 'Amir b. Yazld b. 'Amir b. al-Mulawwih, one of B. Ya'mar b. 
'Auf b. Ka'b b. 'Amir b. Layth b. Bakr b. 'Abdu Manat b. Kinana in 
Pajnan, he being the chief of B. Bakr at that time. When he saw him he 
liked him and asked him who he was. When he told him, and had gone 
away, he called his tribesmen, and asked them if there was any blood 

292 The Life of Muhammad 

outstanding with Quraysh, and when they said there was, he said, 'Any man 
who kills this youngster in revenge for one of his tribe will have exacted 
the blood due to him.' So one of them followed him and killed him in 
revenge for the blood Quraysh had shed. When Quraysh discussed the 
matter, 'Amir b. Yazld said, 'You owed us blood so what do you want? If 
you wish pay us what you owe us, and we will pay you what we owe. If 
you want only blood, man for man, then ignore your claims and we will 
ignore ours' ; and since this youth was of no great importance to this clan 
of Quraysh, they said, 'All right, man for man', and ignored his death and 
sought no compensation for it. 

Now while his brother Mikraz was travelling in Marr al-Zahran he saw 
'Amir on a camel, and as soon as he saw him 'Amir went up to him and made 
his camel kneel beside him. 'Amir was wearing a sword, and Mikraz brought 
his sword down on him and killed him. Then he twirled his sword about in 
his belly, and brought it back to Mecca and hung it overnight among the 
curtains of the Ka'ba. When morning came Quraysh saw 'Amir's sword 
hanging among the curtains of the Ka'ba and recognized it. They said, 
'This is 'Amir's sword; Mikraz has attacked and killed him.' This is what 
happened, and while this vendetta was going on, Islam intervened between 
men, and they occupied themselves with that, until when Quraysh decided 
to go to Badr they remembered the vendetta with B. Bakr and were afraid 
of them. 

Mikraz b. Hafs said about his killing 'Amir: 

When I saw that it was 'Amir I remembered the fleshless corpse of my 
dear brother. 

I said to myself, it is 'Amir, fear not my soul and look to what you do. 
I was certain that as soon as I got in a shrewd blow with the sword, it 

would be the end of him. 
I swooped down on him, on a brave, experienced man, with a sharp 


When we came to grips I did not show myself a son of ignoble 

I slaked my vengeance, forgetting not revenge which only weaklings 
forgo (353). 

Yazid b. Ruman from *Urwa b. al-Zubayr told me that when Quraysh 
were ready to set off they remembered their quarrel with B. Bakr and it 
almost deterred them from starting. However, Iblis appeared to them in 
the form of Suraqa b. Malik b. Ju'tham al-Mudliji who was one of the 
chiefs of B. Kinana saying, 'I will guarantee that Kinana will not attack 
you in the rear,' so they went off speedily. 

The apostle set out in the month of Ramadan (354). He gave the flag to 
Mus'ab b. 'Umayr b. Hashim b. 'Abdu Manaf b. 'Abdu'l-Dar (355). The 
apostle was preceded by two black flags, one with 'Ali called al-'Uqab and 
the other with one of the Ansar. His companions had seventy camels on 

The Life of Muhammad 293 

which men rode in turns: the apostle with 'All and Marthad b. Abu Mar- 
thad al-Ghanawi one camel ; Hamza and Zayd b. Haritha and Abu Kabsha 
and Anasa freedmen of the apostle one camel; and Abu Bakr, and 'Umar, 
and 'Abdu'l-Rahman b. 'Auf one camel. The apostle put over the rear- 
guard Qays b. Abu Sa'sa'a brother of B. Mazin b. al-Najjar (356). 

He took the road to Mecca by the upper route from Medina, then by al- 
'Aqiq, Dhu'l-Hulayfa, and Clatu'l-Jaysh (357). Then he passed Turban, 
Malal, Ghamlsu'l-Hamam, Sukhayratu'l-Yamam, and Sayala; then by the 
ravine of al-Rauha' to Shanuka, which is the direct route, until at Trqu'l- 
Zabya (358) he met a nomad. He asked him about the Quraysh party, but 
found that he had no news. The people said, 'Salute God's apostle.' He 
said, 'Have you got God's apostle with you?' and when they said that they 
had, he said, 'If you are God's apostle, then tell me what is in the belly of 
my she-camel here.' Salama b. Salama said to him, 'Don't question God's 
apostle ; but come to me and I will tell you about it. You leapt upon her 
and she has in her belly a little goat from you!' The apostle said, 'Enough! 
You have spoken obscenely to the man.' Then he turned away from 

The apostle stopped at Sajsaj which is the well of al-Rauha' ; then went 
on to al-Munsaraf, leaving the Meccan road on the left, and went to the 
right to al-Xaziya making for Badr. Arrived in its neighbourhood he 
crossed a wadi called Ruhqan between al-Naziya and the pass of al-Safra'; 
then along the pass; then he debouched from it until when near al-Safra' 
he sent Basbas b. 'Amr al-Juhani, an ally of B. SS'ida, and 'Adly b. Abu 
Zaghba' al-Juhani, ally of B. al-Najjar, to Badr to scout for news about 
Abu Sufyan and his caravan. 1 Having sent them on ahead he moved off 
and when he got to al-Safra', which is a village between two mountains, he 
asked what their names were. He was told that they were Muslih and 
MukhriV He asked about their inhabitants and was told that they were 
B. al-Nar and B. Huraq, 3 two clans of B. Ghifar. The apostle drew an ill 
omen from their names and so disliked them that he refused to pass be- 
tween them, so he left them and al-Safra' on his left and went to the right 
to a wadi called Dhafiran which he crossed and then halted. 

News came to him that Quraysh had set out to protect their caravan, 
and he told the people of this and asked their advice. Abu Bakr and then 
'Umar got up and spoke well. Then al-Miqdad got up and said, 'O apostle 
of God, go where God tells you for we are with you. We will not say as the 
children of Israel said to Moses, "You and your Lord go and fight and we 
will stay at home," 4 but you and your Lord go and fight, and we will fight 

1 Though there is no authority in the printed editions, or in the variants cited therein, 
I cannot help thinking that the reading should be 'irihi and not ghayrihi, 'anyone else'. In 
the earlier raids the prophet had not made inquiries about all and sundry and all he was 
concerned with was the Meccan caravan and the Meccan army. If the latter were meant in 
the assumed reading ghayrihi, one feels they would have been explicitly mentioned. SOL 
reads "irihi T. 1299'. 2 Both names mean 'defecator'. 

3 'Fire' and 'Burning' respectively. 4 Sura 5. 27. 

294 The Life of Muhammad 

with you. By God, if you were to take us to Bark al-Ghimad, 1 we would 
fight resolutely with you against its defenders until you gained it.' The 
apostle thanked him and blessed him. Then he said, 'Give me advice, O 
Men,' "by which he meant the Ansar. This is because they formed the 
majority, and because when they had paid homage to him in al-'Aqaba 
they stipulated that they were not responsible for his safety until he entered 
their territory, and that when he was there they would protect him as they 
did their wives and children. So the apostle was afraid that the Ansar 
would not feel obliged to help him unless he was attacked by an enemy in 
Medina, and that they would not feel it incumbent upon them to go with 

435 him against an enemy outside their territory. When he spoke these words 
Sa'd b. Mu'adh said, 'It seems as if you mean us,' and when he said that 
he did, Sa'd said, 'We believe in you, we declare your truth, and we witness 
that what you have brought is the truth, and we have given you our word 
and agreement to hear and obey ; so go where you wish, we are with you ; 
and by God, if you were to ask us to cross this sea and you plunged into it, 
we would plunge into it with you ; not a man would stay behind. We do 
not dislike the idea of meeting your enemy tomorrow. We are experienced 
in war, trustworthy in combat. It may well be that God will let us show 
you something which will bring you joy, so take us along with God's 
blessing.' The apostle was delighted at Sa'd's words which greatly encou- 
raged him. Then he said, 'Forward in good heart, for God has promised 
me one of the two parties, 2 and by God, it is as though I now saw the 
enemy lying prostrate.' Then the apostle journeyed from Dhafran and 
went over passes called Asafir. Then he dropped down from them to a 
town called al-Dabba and left al-Hannan on the right. This was a huge 
sandhill like a large mountain. Then he stopped near Badr and he and 
one of his companions (359) rode on, as Muhammad b. Yahya b. Habban 
told me, until he stopped by an old man of the Beduin and inquired about 
Quraysh and about Muhammad and his companions, and what he had 
heard about them. The old man said, 'I won't tell you until you tell me 
which party you belong to.' The apostle said, 'If you tell us we will tell 
you.' He said, 'Tit for tat?' 'Yes,' he replied. The old man said, 'I have 
heard that Muhammad and his companions went out on such-and-such a 
day. If that is true, today they are in such-and-such a place,' referring to 
the place in which the apostle actually was, 'and I heard that Quraysh 
went out on such-and-such a day, and if this is true, today they are in 
such-and-such a place,' meaning the one in which they actually were. 
When he had finished he said, 'Of whom are you?' The apostle said, 'We 
are from Ma'.' 3 Then he left him, while the old man was saying, 'What does 

436 "from Ma*" mean ? Is it from the water of Iraq?' (360). ' 

1 A place in the Yemen, others say the farthest point of tfajar. T- »3<x> adds 'a town of 
the Abyssinians'. 

1 i.e. the caravan or the army. Cf. Sura 8. 7 
* i.e. Water. 

The Life of Muhammad 295 

Then the apostle returned to his companions; and when night fell he 
sent 'All and al-Zubayr b. al-'AwwSm and Sa'd b. Abu Waqqas with a 
number of his companions to the well at Badr in quest of news of both 
parties, according to what Yazld b. Riiman from 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr told 
me, and they fell in with some water-camels of Quraysh, among whom 
were Aslam, a slave of B. al-Hajjaj, and 'Arid Abu Yas5r, a young man of 
B. Al-'As b. Sa'id, and they brought them along and questioned them 
while the apostle was standing praying. They said, 'We are the watermen 
of Quraysh ; they sent us to get them water.' The people were displeased 
at their report, for they had hoped that they would belong to Abu Sufyan, 
so they beat them, and when they had beaten them soundly, the two men 
said, 'We belong to Abu Sufyan,' so they let them go. The apostle bowed 
and prostrated himself twice, and said, 'When they told you the truth you 
beat them ; and when they lied you let them alone. They told the truth ; 
they do belong to Quraysh. Tell me you two about the Quraysh." They 
replied, 'They are behind this hill which you see on the farthest side.' 
(The hill was al-'Aqanqal.) The apostle asked them how many they were, 
and when they said, 'Many,' he asked for the number, but they did not 
know ; so he asked them how many beasts they slaughtered every day, and 
when they said nine or ten, he said, 'The people are between nine hundred 
and a thousand.' Then he asked how many nobles of Quraysh were 
among them. They said: "Utba, Shayba, Abu'l-Bakhtarl, Hakim, Naufal, 
al-Harith b. 'Amir, Tu'ayma, al-Nadr, Zama'a, Abu Jahl, Umayya, Nabih, 
Munabbih, Suhayl, 'Amr b. 'Abdu Wudd.' The apostle went to the people 
and said, 'This Mecca has thrown to you the pieces of its liver!' 2 

Basbas and 'AdTy had gone on until they reached Badr, and halted on a 
hill near the water. Then they took an old skin to fetch water while Majdi 
b. 'Amr al-Juham was by the water. 'Adly and Basbas heard two girls 
from the village discussing a debt, and one said to the other, 'The caravan 
will come tomorrow or the day after and I will work for them and then 
pay you what I owe you.' Majdi said, 'You are right,' and he made 
arrangements with them. Adly and Basbas overheard this, and rode off to 
the apostle and told him what they had overheard. 

Abu Sufyan went forward to get in front of the caravan as a precaution- 
ary measure until he came down to the water, and asked Majdi if he had 
noticed anything. He replied that he had seen nothing untoward: merely 
two riders had stopped on the hill and taken water away in a skin. Abu 
Sufyan came to the spot where they had halted, picked up some camel 
dung and broke it in pieces and found that it contained date-stones. 'By 
God,' he said, 'this is the fodder of Yathrib.' He returned at once to his 
companions and changed the caravan's direction from the road to the sea- 
shore leaving Badr on the left, travelling as quickly as possible. 

Quraysh advanced and when they reached al-Juhfa Juhaym b. al-Salt b. 
Makhrama b. al-Muttalib saw a vision. He said, 'Between waking and 

1 T*. 1304. 4, 'where the Quraysh are*. * i.e. 'its best men'. 

296 The Life of Muhammad 

sleeping I saw a man advancing on a horse with a camel, and then he 
halted and said: "Slain are Ttba and Shayba and Abu'l-Hakam and 
Umayya" (and he went on to enumerate the men who were killed at Badr, 
all nobles of Quraysh). Then I saw him stab his camel in the chest and 
send it loose into the camp, and every single tent was bespattered with its 
blood.' When the story reached Abu Jahl he said, 'Here's another prophet 
from B. al-Muttalib! He'll know tomorrow if we meet them who is going 
to be killed!' 

When Abu Sufyan saw that he had saved his caravan he sent word to 
Quraysh, 'Since you came out to save your caravan, your men, and your 
438 property, and God has delivered them, go back.* Abu Jahl said, 'By God, 
we will not go back until we have been to Badr'— Badr was the site of one 
of the Arab fairs where they used to hold a market every year. 'We will 
spend three days there, slaughter camels and feast and drink wine, and 
the girls shall play for us. The Arabs will hear that we have come and 
gathered together, and will respect us in future. So come on!' 

Al-Akhnas b. Sharlq b. 'Amr b. Wahb al-Thaqafi, an ally of B. Zuhra 
who were in al-Juhfa, addressed the latter, saying, 'God has saved you 
and your property and delivered your companion Makhrama b. Naufal ; 
and as you only came out to protect him and his property, lay any 
charge of cowardice on me and go back. There is no point in going to war 
without profit as this man would have us,' meaning Abu Jahl. So they 
returned and not a single Zuhrite was present at Badr. They obeyed him 
as he was a man of authority. Every clan of Quraysh was represented 
except B. 'AdTy b. Ka'b: not one of them took part, so with the return of 
B. Zuhra with al-Akhnas these two tribes were not represented at all. 
There was some discussion between Talib b. Abu Talib, who was with the 
army, and some of Quraysh. The latter said, 'We know, O B. Hashim, 
that if you have come out with us your heart is with Muhammad.' So 
Talib and some others returned to Mecca. Talib said : 

O God, if Talib goes forth to war unwillingly 
With one of these squadrons, 
Let him be the plundered not the plunderer, 
The vanquished not the victor (361). 

439 Quraysh went on until they halted on the farther side of the wadi 
behind al-'Aqanqal. The bed of the wadi— Yalyal— was between Badr and 
al-'Aqanqal, the hill behind which lay Quraysh, while the wells at Badr 
were on the side of the wadi bed nearest to Medina. God sent a rain which 
turned the soft sand of the wadi into a compact surface which did not 
hinder the apostle's movements, but gravely restricted the movements of 
Quraysh. The apostle went forth to hasten his men to the water and when 
he got to the nearest water of Badr he halted. 

I was told that men of B. Salama said that al-Hubab b. al-Mundhir b. 
al-Jamuh said to the apostle: 'Is this a place which God has ordered 

The Life of Muhammad 297 

you to occupy, so that we can neither advance nor withdraw from it, 
or is it a matter of opinion and military tactics?' When he replied that 
it was the latter he pointed out that it was not the place to stop but that 
they should go on to the water nearest to the enemy and halt there, stop 
up the wells beyond it, and construct a cistern so that they would have 
plenty of water ; then they could fight their enemy who would have nothing 
to drink. The apostle agreed that this was an excellent plan and it was 
immediately carried out ; the wells were stopped ; a cistern was built and 
filled with water from which his men replenished their drinking-vessels. 

'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr told me that he was informed that Sa'd b. Mu'adh 
said: 'O prophet of God, let us make a booth (T. of palm-branches) for 
you to occupy and have your riding camels standing by; then we will meet 
the enemy and if God gives us the victory that is what we desire; if the 44© 
worst occurs you can mount your camels and join our people who are left 
behind, for they are just as deeply attached to you as we are. Had they 
thought that you would be fighting they would not have stayed behind. 
God will protect you by them; they will give you good counsel and fight 
with you.' The apostle thanked him and blessed him. Then a booth was 
constructed for the apostle and he remained there. 

Quraysh, having marched forth at daybreak, now came on. When the 
apostle saw them descending from the hill 'Aqanqal into the valley, he 
cried, 'O God, here come the Quraysh in their vanity and pride, contending 
with Thee and calling Thy apostle a liar. O God, grant the help which 
Thou didst promise me. Destroy them this morning!' Before uttering 
these words he had seen among the enemy 'Utba b. Rabl'a, mounted on a 
red camel of his, and said, 'If there is any good in any one of them, it will 
be with the man on the red camel: if they obey him, they will take the right 
way.' Khufaf b. Aima' b. Rahada, or his father Aima b. Rahada al- 
Ghifari, had sent to Quraysh, as they passed by, a son of his with some 
camels for slaughter, which he gave them as a gift, saying, 'If you want us 
to support you with arms and men, we will do so ;' but they sent to him the 
following message by the mouth of his son— 'You have done all that a 
kinsman ought. If we are fighting only men, we are surely equal to them ; 
and if we are fighting God, as- Muhammad alleges, none is able to with- 
stand Him.' And when Quraysh encamped, some of them, among whom 
was Hakim b. Hizam, went to the cistern of the apostle to drink. 'Let them 
be!' he said; and every man that drank of it on that day was killed, except 
Hakim 1 who afterwards became a good Muslim and used to say, when he 
was earnest in his oath, 'Nay, by Him who saved me on the day of Badr.' 

My father, Ishaq b. Yasar, and other learned men told me on the autho- 44. 
rity of some elders of the Ansar that when the enemy had settled in their 
camp they sent 'Umavr b. Wahb al-Jumahi to estimate the number of 
Muhammad's followers. He rode on horseback round the camp and on his 
return said, 'Three hundred men, a little more or less; but wait till 1 see 

1 T- adds: 'He escaped on a horse of hia called al-Wajih.' So also al-Agh. 

298 The Life of Muhammad 

whether they have any in ambush or support.' He made his way far into 
the valley but saw nothing. On "his return he said, 'I found nothing, but O 
people of Quraysh, I have seen camels carrying Death— the camels of 
Yathrib laden with certain death. These men have no defence or refuge 
but their swords. By God! I do not think that a man of them will be slain 
till he slay one of you, and if they kill of you a number equal to their own, 
what is the good of living after that? Consider, then, what you will do.' 
When Hakim b. Hizam heard those words,